Archive for July 17, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Why Content Should Be Published in HTML and Not PDF

Neil Williams (via Alistair Duggin):

The default should be to create all content in HTML. If you can’t avoid publishing a PDF, ideally it should be in addition to an HTML version and the PDF must meet accessibility standards and archiving standards. We hope this post will help publishers explain the problems with PDFs to their colleagues and support moving towards an HTML-first culture.


PDFs may seem to be the fastest option because they can be easily created from popular applications that people are already using to author and share documents.

Converting content into HTML takes a bit of time. However, as explained earlier, creating a fully usable and accessible PDF from a source document requires specialist knowledge and can actually take longer than creating the content in HTML.

Unfortunately, there is no standard way to download an HTML document and save it in a self-contained format. Also, the tools for reading, searching, and marking up PDF documents are better.

Memoji Apple Leadership

Juli Clover:

In celebration of World Emoji Day, which takes place tomorrow, Apple today updated its Apple Leadership site to introduce Memoji avatars for all of the key executives listed on the page.

Tim Cook, Angela Ahrendts, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Luca Maestri, Phil Schiller, and the rest of the leadership team are now represented by Memojis.

Jeremy Burge:

Apple has today offered a first look at the iOS emojis for 2018. We spoke to Apple VP of User Interface Design Alan Dye about the new emoji updates and when we can expect them.

Popular additions coming soon to iOS include redheads, a mango, kangaroo and lobster. Billing the update as over 70 new emojis, the total number should total closer to 150 additions when gender and skin tones are taken into account.

App Store Revenue Nearly Double That of Google Play

Sarah Perez:

Apple’s iOS store has consistently generated more revenue than its Android counterpart for years due to a number of factors – including the fact that Android users historically have spent less on apps than iOS users, as well as the fact that there are other Android app stores consumer can shop – like the Amazon Appstore or Samsung Store, for example. In addition, Google Play is not available in China, but Apple’s App Store is.


Google Play app downloads were up a bit more (13.1 percent vs iOS’s 10.6 percent) year-over-year due to Android’s reach in developing markets, reaching 36 billion. That’s around 2.4 times the App Store’s 15 billion.

Despite this, Apple’s platform still earned more than double the revenue with fewer than half the downloads, which is remarkable. And it can’t all be chalked up to China.

Nearly double the revenue from less than half as many downloads.

Open Offices Result in Less Collaboration Among Employees

Ethan S. Bernstein and Stephen Turban (via Dan Luu):

Contrary to common belief, the volume of face-to-face interaction decreased significantly (approx. 70%) in both cases, with an associated increase in electronic interaction. In short, rather than prompting increasingly vibrant face-to-face collaboration, open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact instead over email and IM. This is the first study to empirically measure both face-to-face and electronic interaction before and after the adoption of open office architecture. The results inform our understanding of the impact on human behaviour of workspaces that trend towards fewer spatial boundaries.

Drew Harry:

The social norms in any open plan office I’ve been in is to not talk in person because you’ll distract the 20 people in earshot. But good luck finding a nearby open room, so Slack is now worth $5B.

Jason Kottke:

This jibes with my experience working in open offices. For almost 10 years, I worked in an open office plan at Buzzfeed. In the beginning, when there were just a few of us, the level of IRL interaction was high. But as the number of people in the office increased past a certain point, people spent more and more time at their desks, headphones on, ignoring everything but their screens.

Previously: Apple Park’s Open Work Spaces.

Update (2018-07-17): Bad Uncle Leo:

Open offices ONLY WORK in cultures where they’ve been used for decades. I’ve worked in Japan and Germany where smaller groups or product team groups were sequestered. From each other.

“Open but only” offices work.

“Open w everyone” (Engineering + QA + Marketing) are chaos.

Update (2018-07-19): See also: Reddit (via David Heinemeier Hansson).

Update (2018-07-20): Jena McGregor (via Lydia Polgreen):

In an open office workplace, said study co-author and Harvard Business School professor Ethan Bernstein in a recent interview, “I walk into this space, and I see everyone wearing big headphones staring intently at a screen trying to look busy because everyone can see them.” The result can be that “instead of interrupting people, I’ll send an email.”


Bernstein hopes the research will offer empirical evidence that will help managers consider the possible trade-offs of moving to an open office plan. In seeking a lower cost per square foot, they buy into the idea that it will also lead to more collaboration, even if it’s not clear that’s true.

Update (2018-10-12): Geoffrey James (via Steven Sinofsky):

Last week, Tom Gimbel, the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network (a Chicago-based job recruiting firm) fired a broadside at my recent post explaining why open plan offices are the dumbest management fad of all time.

While I respect anyone who is courageous enough to found and run a successful company--especially in such a competitive field as recruiting--I’m afraid that on this issue Gimbel is viewing the situation through CEO-colored glasses.

Geoffrey James (tweet):

Pixar under Steve Jobs was famously creative and innovative. What’s not so famous is that Jobs tried, and rejected, the classic open plan, opting instead for individual offices combined with large areas without desks or work areas.


Rather than stick everyone in a huge room (as with 99.9% of open plan designs), Pixar created units consisting of five to six individual offices with a central gathering place in the middle. Employees are free to decorate and ornament these individual offices however they like.

Swift GYB

Mattt Thompson:

GYB is a lightweight templating system that allows you to use Python code for variable substitution and flow control:

  • The sequence %{ <#code#> } evaluates a block of Python code
  • The sequence % <#code#>: … % end manages control flow
  • The sequence ${ <#code#> } substitutes the result of an expression

All other text is passed through unchanged.

A good example of GYB can be found in Codable.swift.gyb.

iOS Devices Can Be Blocked From Entering USB Restricted Mode

Oleg Afonin (via John Gruber):

On unmanaged devices, the new default behavior is to disable data connectivity of the Lightning connector after one hour since the device was last unlocked, or one hour since the device has been disconnected from a trusted USB accessory.


What we discovered is that iOS will reset the USB Restrictive Mode countdown timer even if one connects the iPhone to an untrusted USB accessory, one that has never been paired to the iPhone before (well, in fact the accessories do not require pairing at all).


Can Apple change it in future versions of iOS? To us, it seems highly unlikely simply because of the humongous amount of MFi devices that aren’t designed to support such a change.

Previously: Cellebrite Can Now Unlock Recent iPhones, GrayKey iPhone Unlocker.

Update (2018-07-24): See also: Bruce Schneier.

Update (2018-08-07): Josh Centers:

If USB Restricted Mode isn’t causing you any trouble, leave it on. Although it doesn’t offer complete protection against an alert attacker who can get access to your device quickly, it’s not worthless. Once your device has been locked for more than 60 minutes, nothing we know of can crack it.

If unlock alerts are nagging you, or if your device fails to charge because you didn’t unlock it, the easiest solution is to turn USB Restricted Mode off. Just go into Settings > Touch/Face ID & Passcode and enable USB Accessories.