Archive for November 15, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

More Easily Finding and Deleting iOS Apps

Two great suggestions from John Gruber:

I wish you could delete apps right from the App Store Updates tab. When I see an update is pending for an app I never use, I just want to delete it right there.

The worst part is, what I actually do is Update All, wasting time and data updating an app I’d rather delete, because it’s easier.


Also, it would be great to be able to delete apps from Spotlight search results (or even just reveal them).

Update (2018-11-16): Dan Masters shows how this works on Android.

Using an iPad as a Mac mini Display

Luna Display (MacRumors):

To bring our idea to life, we used Luna Display — hardware that turns the iPad into a second display for your Mac. Luna works over WiFi, so you can wirelessly connect your Mac and iPad into one workspace. We were curious to see if Luna could also turn the iPad into the primary display for Mac Mini.

Our initial thought when we got Luna up and running with the Mac Mini was “this is like a whole new Apple product!” It really felt like that. In many ways, it was so obvious and second-nature to use the iPad as your main display. The iPad Pro has such a large and beautiful screen, that of course you’d want to find a way to use it in your workflow.


This setup truly combines the best of both Mac and iPad, with the processing power of the Mac Mini and the edge-to-edge retina display of the iPad. Using Luna, we’re able to take full advantage of every pixel on the iPad at full retina resolution. It offers more ways to interact with your macOS too, where you can seamlessly flow from mouse, to keyboard, to Apple Pencil, to touch interactions. And since Luna runs over WiFi, you have the flexibility of a completely wireless workspace. It all just works.

Previously: Portable External MacBook Pro Displays.

Update (2018-12-10): See also: Julio Ojeda-Zapata.

Update (2019-01-01): TJ Luoma:

Here’s my “Executive Summary” review: using the Luna Display with my 12.9" iPad Pro feels almost as if I am using macOS as a native iOS app. The speed and responsiveness are great, and it’s straightforward to use. However, there are some important caveats, especially if you are using a smaller iPad or if you are not using the iPad as a second display for your Mac.

Update (2019-01-23): Dr. Drang:

Because my iPad was acting as a Mac display, I was viewing the photos through Mac software, and none of the software I tried—while perfectly fine when run directly on the Mac itself—felt right when run indirectly on the iPad.

Emulating Linux and Classic Mac OS on iOS

Lawrence Abrams:

Have you ever wanted to run a Linux shell on your iOS device to transfer files, write shell scripts, or simply to use Vi to develop code or edit files? Now you can, with a project called iSH that is currently available as a TestFlight beta for iOS devices.

iSH is a project that aims to bring a Linux shell to iOS devices using a usermode x86 emulator. iSH is built on the Alpine Linux distro, which is designed to have a small footprint, be secure, and easy to use with little or no distracting bells and whistles.

This is really cool but would seem to violate lots of App Store guidelines.

Mini vMac for iOS (via Adam Bell):

  • Emulates Mac Plus, Mac II or Mac 128K
  • Full simulated keyboard (including all Mac keys)
  • Full sound output
  • Uses external keyboard if available
  • Regulable emulation speed
  • Easy(ish) to import/export disk images

Update (2018-11-19): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Version Control Before Git with CVS

Sinclair Target (Hacker News):

Whereas with Git you’d talk about the version of a file associated with commit 45de392, in CVS files are versioned separately. The first version of your file is version 1.1, the next version is 1.2, and so on. When branches are involved, extra numbers are appended, so you might end up with something like the above, which appears to be the default in our case even though we haven’t created any branches.


Since CVS doesn’t have easily addressable commit objects, the only way to group a collection of changes is to mark a particular working directory state with a tag.


Because you need a tag to rewind to an earlier working directory state, CVS encourages a lot of preemptive tagging. Before major refactors, for example, you might create a BEFORE_REFACTOR_01 tag that you could later use if the refactor went wrong. People also used tags if they wanted to generate project-wide diffs. Basically, all the things we routinely do today with commit hashes have to be anticipated and planned for with CVS, since you needed to have the tags available already.

This is a good retrospective of what it was like to use CVS. In my experience, it was also much more prone to corrupting the repository than either Git or Subversion.

Macs With Two Built-In Audio Devices

Paul Kafasis:

With these new Macs, there are actually two distinct output devices. The headphone jack and the internal speakers are separate devices, completely independent from one another.

This change means it’s possible to send different audio sources to each outputs.


In the course of researching this, I asked friends and colleagues to test several other recent Macs. It appears that distinct output devices are also present in both the MacBooks Pro Apple released in July of this year and the iMacs Pro which started shipping at the end of 2017.

Update (2018-11-16): Rob Mathers:

The ability to switch audio outputs while keeping a pair of headphones connected is something I’ve thought Macs should have ever since I got my first MacBook Pro.

AppleCare’s Limited Duration

Juli Clover:

AppleCare+ extends the warranty on the iPad Pro to two years from the date of purchase, and it covers two incidents of accidental damage subjected to a $49 service fee. The protection plan also covers the Apple Pencil.

AppleCare+ must be purchased alongside a new iPad Pro or within 60 days, with Apple using an online or in-store verification process for AppleCare+ purchases made after an iPad Pro purchase.

It’s too bad that you can’t get coverage for longer. The new iPhones and, in particular, the new iPad Pro, should be able to last a lot longer than two years. AppleCare for Macs provides three years of coverage, which also seems a bit short for today’s hardware. My 2012 MacBook Pro is still going strong.

I asked a salesman at the Apple Store about this, and he said it was because Apple found that “everyone” updates their devices every two years, anyway. Does his family do that with their devices? No, not since they got a mortgage and two kids.