Archive for June 25, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

Open Sourcing NonEmpty

Point-Free (via Ole Begemann):

We believe that a compiler proven non-empty type is incredibly important for every developer to have at their disposal, and so that’s why today we are open sourcing our NonEmpty library.


The core of the library is just a single generic type, NonEmpty<C>, which allows you to transform any collection type C into a non-empty version of itself. The majority of the code in the library consists of conformances on NonEmpty to make it act as much like the collection that it wraps.


We encourage the reader to start looking critically at their own application code, their library API’s and their interactions with other API’s to see where non-empty types might be appropriate. By pushing the non-emptiness requirement to the type level you get to enforce this invariant in a single place rather than sprinkle if’s and guard’s into your code.

Previously: Why Dependent Types Matter.

Update (2018-06-26): Ole Begemann:

Important caveat: because NonEmpty stores its first element separate from the rest, it doesn’t necessarily capture all of the underlying collection’s semantics. E.g. NonEmpty<Set<Int>> doesn’t guarantee that all elements are unique unless you take special precautions.

Intel and the Danger of Integration

Ben Thompson:

As Bajarin notes, 7nm for TSMC (or Samsung or Global Foundries) isn’t necessarily better than Intel’s 10nm; chip-labeling isn’t what it used to be. The problem is that Intel’s 10nm process isn’t close to shipping at volume, and the competition’s 7nm processes are. Intel is behind, and its insistence on integration bears a large part of the blame.


It is perhaps simpler to say that Intel, like Microsoft, has been disrupted. The company’s integrated model resulted in incredible margins for years, and every time there was the possibility of a change in approach Intel’s executives chose to keep those margins. In fact, Intel has followed the script of the disrupted even more than Microsoft: while the decline of the PC finally led to The End of Windows, Intel has spent the last several years propping up its earnings by focusing more and more on the high-end, selling Xeon processors to cloud providers. That approach was certainly good for quarterly earnings, but it meant the company was only deepening the hole it was in with regards to basically everything else. And now, most distressingly of all, the company looks to be on the verge of losing its performance advantage even in high-end applications.

The Menu Bar:

We talk to chip expert Ashraf Eassa of The Motley Fool about how Intel’s chip delays mess with Apple’s roadmap, to what extent Intel is on fire, why Apple is likely moving away from Intel, why Switch may have serious staying power for Nintendo, how Marzipan points to Apple avoiding the Microsoft misstep, speculation about Project Star, a way Apple could get around saying ’No’ to a hybrid, Intel’s ongoing talent hemorrhage, the path for Apple migrating to ARM, a little bit on where AMD stands, and Apple’s bonkers silicon advantage.

Previously: On the Sad State of Macintosh Hardware.

Update (2018-07-03): See also: Steven Sinofsky.

Update (2018-07-11): Jean-Louis Gassée:

Perhaps Otellini truly didn’t believe Apple could sell huge numbers of iPhones — it wasn’t a sure thing at the time. But was there also an unconscious process that blinded him to the iPod’s volumes? More strikingly, why couldn’t Otellini “see” the hundreds of millions of handsets that were being sold by Nokia, RIM/Blackberry, and Windows Mobile licensees? Nokia had sold 265M devices in 2005 and the numbers were climbing rapidly. Not at PC prices, yet, but PC-like unit volumes, nonetheless.


Just as old Cultures can no longer “see” their origins, Intel pushed under its consciousness the true source of the x86’s superiority: The margins it commanded through the Windows monopoly. Better manufacturing technology became Intel’s “conscious” explanation, but the truth was that in the PC era, non-Windows microprocessors simply couldn’t compete and had to settle for lower prices. The worst part of the Culture dictate is that Intel believed its own story, at least until it stopped working as interlopers such as TSMC came up with competitive technology. How else to explain their sale of their ARM-centered Xscale to Marvell in 2006?

Update (2018-07-20): See also: Vector.

iOS Game Revenue

Jeremy Horwitz (tweet):

There are over 800,000 games in the App Store, and in 2017, only the top 50 of them took 76 percent of all the revenue, leaving 24 percent of revenues to be shared by the remaining 99.993 percent of games. And if you’re thinking of chasing one of those top spots, it’s worth noting that over the several years of Apptopia’s study, only 14 games hit the No. 1 spot, only 142 hit number 10 or better, and only 525 hit number 25 or better. Moreover, six games — Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Game of War — Fire Age, and three casino titles — have held top 50 spots for the entire duration of the study.

The study’s numbers explain why relatively few top-flight game developers are devoting significant resources to making iOS games, despite Apple’s promises of billions in overall developer revenue.

Mitchel Broussard:

Monument Valley 2 creators Ustwo Games today posted a new story on Medium (via The Verge) that highlights the first-year numbers and growth of the popular mobile sequel. Although there are numerous points of data to look at, one notable standout is that Monument Valley 2 earned $10.4 million in the one year period that began on June 5, 2017 (the game’s launch day) through June 4, 2018.

Previously: iOS App Sales Data, The iOS Gaming Business, Super Mario Run’s Disappointing Profit.

Update (2018-06-26): Rani Molla:

Fortnite: Battle Royale has brought in more revenue in a single month than any other game of its kind. The free-to-play game hit a new revenue record of $318 million in May, according to SuperData Research.

That puts Fornite well ahead of other breakout games like Pokémon Go and Clash of Clans, and it’s all the more spectacular when you realize the multi-platform game launched on consoles just eight months ago and on iOS just three months ago.

Since then, Fortnite has brought in more than $1.2 billion in revenue, all of which comes from nonessential in-app purchases, for stuff like clothing and dance moves.

Speeding Up WWDC Videos

Ricky Mondello:

Wanna watch a lot of WWDC videos in a short time? If you’re in a web browser, on a page like this one, you can run some JavaScript to speed up videos:

document.querySelector("video").playbackRate = 1.4;

Maynard Handley:

And yet it’s 25 years after QT provided the foundational tech for this and not a single Apple AV app actually provides both of these in their most useful form.

None of this is rocket science. Spoken word and video BOTH

- need variable speed playback (properly LABELLED speeds would also be nice -- don’t know WTF Apple could never get this right)

- need decent forward and backward jump buttons, ideally programmable, otherwise 15 sec each

It’s frustrating. The WWDC app doesn’t let you adjust the speed and doesn’t properly remember which video you were in the middle of playing or what time you were at. I eventually figured out that you can jump forward and backward 15 seconds when it’s in full screen mode.

For most sessions, though, the slides and demos are not critical (and can always be viewed after the fact), so I’ve been using Overcast. It’s a few extra steps to download the videos, convert them to audio, and upload them, but playback works so much better, especially with Smart Speed.

Previously: WWDC 2018 Links.

Update (2018-06-25): Steve Moser:

Nice! Also you can make this into a bookmarklet so that you can speed up videos on iOS as well.

Selling PowerSchool

Bradley Chambers:

Apple bought the US leading web-based student information system seven months before they announced the original iPod. They purchased PowerSchool before Flickr was created, before Digg launched, and before Facebook was making its way around Harvard.

I don’t know what happened with the product under Apple’s leadership, but they sold it to Pearson in 2006.


PowerSchool now has 32 million students, 66 million parents, and 100 million users across 13,000 school districts. This market should have been Apple’s to own. Instead, Apple is reliant on a critical part of the stack they can’t control.

Previously: Apple’s Lane Tech Education Event.

reMarkable Tablet

Omar Shahine:

I’ve been using a reMarkable Tablet for 3 months. The reMarkable is a kindle like device that simulates the experience of writing on paper.


Well the hardware is pretty great. The device is light as a feather. The screen is great, like a Kindle Oasis. The size is perfect. The pen has a friction feel to it and in fact the tips wear down like a real pencil. The device comes with 10 replacement tips - in 3 months I have worn 1 down and I use the device every day for about 4 hours.


If you evaluate it through the lens of paper pads, well it’s pretty close. You cannot easily “move” and “re-arrange” pages. You make decisions up front about how to store notes (folders, notebooks, pages).