Archive for July 16, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Instapaper Is Going Independent

Instapaper (Hacker News):

Today, we’re announcing that Pinterest has entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of Instapaper to Instant Paper, Inc., a new company owned and operated by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper since it was sold to betaworks by Marco Arment in 2013.

Marco Arment:

I bet this is very good news for the future of Instapaper.

Kenneth Verburg:

No mention of GDPR support and EU users still blocked :(

Previously: Pinterest Acquires Instapaper.

Update (2018-07-17): Alex Heath:

The two employees Pinterest brought on from the Instapaper acquisition will continue working at Pinterest and run Instapaper independently on the side.

Nick Heer:

I don’t think it’s a great sign when a product is transferred from an official offering to something akin to a hobby.

Mitigating Spectre With Site Isolation in Chrome

Charlie Reis (via Justin Schuh):

Speculative execution side-channel attacks like Spectre are a newly discovered security risk for web browsers. A website could use such attacks to steal data or login information from other websites that are open in the browser. To better mitigate these attacks, we’re excited to announce that Chrome 67 has enabled a security feature called Site Isolation on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS.


Site Isolation is a large change to Chrome’s architecture that limits each renderer process to documents from a single site. As a result, Chrome can rely on the operating system to prevent attacks between processes, and thus, between sites. Note that Chrome uses a specific definition of "site" that includes just the scheme and registered domain. Thus, would be a site, and subdomains like would stay in the same process.


This means that even if a Spectre attack were to occur in a malicious web page, data from other websites would generally not be loaded into the same process, and so there would be much less data available to the attacker.

See also: Spectre Mitigations in Microsoft’s C/C++ Compiler (via Hacker News).

Previously: Intel CPU Design Flaw Necessitates Kernel Page Table Isolation, Firefox’s Facebook Container, Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0.

Reporting Bugs as External Developers

Mattt Thompson:

In Apple’s bug triage workflow, each problem is (ideally) tracked by a single Radar. If multiple Radars seem to report the same underlying problem, the oldest or most specific one is kept around while the others are closed as duplicates. This resolution can be frustrating for external developers, as this is often the last word they hear about a problem they’re having — particularly if the original Radar isn’t visible to them.

That said, having your bug closed as a duplicate isn’t always a bad thing. You can knowingly file a duplicate of an existing Radar as a way to say “I have this problem, too” and “Please fix this first”.


Due to the chilling nature of Apple’s social media policies, you’re unlikely ever to hear anything back. But rest assured that your Tweets are showing up on a saved Twitter search somewhere in Cupertino.


Speaking from my personal experience working at Apple, Radar is far and away the best bug tracking systems I’ve ever used. So it can be frustrating to be back on the outside looking in, knowing full well what we’re missing out on as external developers.

Previously: File Radars Early and Often.

App Preservation: Saving the App Store’s History

Federico Viticci:

You’d think that Unify would make for the perfect case study in app development and mobile creativity, if only for historic purposes. Except that Unify is gone from the App Store, as if it never existed in the first place.

If you were to look at the App Store’s developer page for Zach Gage – who worked on the award-winning Ridiculous Fishing, released indie breakthroughs such as Really Bad Chess and Flipflop Solitaire, and was even profiled in an App Store story by Apple – you’d see 2016’s Sage Solitaire as his App Store debut. Unless you still have an old iPhone that was never updated to iOS 11, Gage’s early work isn’t playable anymore. All that remains are old reviews on gaming blogs, awkward gameplay videos recorded before YouTube Let’s Plays, and our memories.


Very few people would be sad that their favorite fart app from 2008 was never updated for 64-bit and got nuked by iOS 11, but the same isn’t true for pioneering titles that were essential in writing the history of the App Store. And while the topic of software preservation has been addressed by other industries, Apple has largely ignored this conversation, treating all apps as equal commodities in spite of the fundamental role that some of them played in the history of the App Store, the art of gameplay design, and, ultimately, our culture.

On the tenth anniversary of the App Store, and looking ahead to the App Store’s next 10 years, this feels like a discussion worth having.

Previously: The Problem With Abandoned Apps, iOS to Drop Support for 32-bit Apps.

Update (2018-07-30): John Siracusa:

Bit Pilot, the iOS game with the best-ever implementation of 2D arcade touch controls, no longer runs on modern iOS.

How Far Does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi Power Go Today?

Chris Wilkinson:

As I pressed on with using the IIsi, I found the experience to be an overall pleasant devolution: no wizards, no updates, very simple user interfaces, no essential updating required. After just a couple of CPU cycles, you land on a blank page to begin your masterpiece. Typing on Apple’s renowned Extended Keyboard II also certainly helped.


On top of that, Photoshop uses 6MB of RAM, meaning that IIsi owners that haven’t upgraded from their original 5MB total (or less) may need to use virtual memory. But just to prove that I could, I was able to place my new logo in-line with my ongoing word processing document. It’s about as clunky as it is adding pictures in a modern word processor, but it works.

With some surprise, I was able to create PDFs using the Acrobat PDFWriter and view them using Acrobat Reader 3. Similarly I was able to view most modern PDFs, although larger files would fail to open.


I hadn’t expected to be able to access my Gmail account using the IIsi, and this turned out to be the case with all of the email clients tested. As with the Web browsers, the main problem was modern security methods.

Supporting This Site

Thank you for reading my blog. After all these years, it’s still a bit of a surprise that people are paying attention to what I write, with some even asking whether I’m OK if I don’t post anything for a while. I really appreciate that you spend time here and that I receive such thoughtful comments, e-mails, and Twitter replies.

I’ve been told this is overdue, but I’d like to ask you to help support this site financially. This is optional. I’m not creating a paywall, and I don’t want you to feel guilty if you aren’t able to help. But if you enjoy what I’m doing here, please consider joining via Patreon.

To be clear, I see this site as a labor of love. I’m not interested in making it more commercial or in giving up software development. I would like to keep it going more or less as it’s been: a personal site with a regular posting schedule. However, the writing does consume a substantial amount of my time, and I’m hoping that patronage will help me to justify that.

Update (2018-07-16): Thanks to Mike Zornek, Aaron Vegh, Bob Warwick, Andrew Abernathy, Chris Adamson, Daniel Jalkut, and others who have already signed up.

Update (2018-07-17): Thanks also to Brian Ganninger, John Gruber, Josh Centers, and Steve Troughton-Smith.

Update (2018-07-18): Thanks also to Charles Parnot, Peter Maurer, Rich Siegel, Josh Sowin, Pierre Igot, and Nick Heer.

Update (2018-07-19): Thanks also to Pierre Lebeaupin and Jaanus Kase.

Update (2018-07-20): Thanks also to Peter N Lewis.

Update (2018-07-25): Thanks also to Felix Schwarz and Peter Steinberger.

Update (2018-07-26): Thanks also to Jason Kottke, Bob Burrough, Ole Begemann, and Wojtek Pietrusiewicz.

Update (2018-08-03): Thanks also to Adrian Tineo.