Archive for December 11, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Make the iPad More Like the Mac

Radu Dutzan (via Daniel Cohen):

Fast forward to almost-2019: the iPad is now “Pro”, the screen goes up to 13", it has an optional keyboard and pointing device, and bests over half the MacBook line in benchmarks. Yet it still runs the iPhone’s OS. Yeah, they added a fancier multitasking UI and the ability to run up to 3 apps at once in a limited set of configurations, but it still behaves like it’s a pocket-sized device for use with your imprecise fingers as you walk down the street. The home screen is still just a sparse grid of apps, a useless mess left to the user to manage. Things like Spotlight, Siri, voice calls or interacting with notifications still take up the entire screen, and so do apps (except for the highly limited and sometimes confusing floating window mode). Undo is still a mess. And text cursor behaviors are a bureaucratic hassle, even when used with a Pencil.


I’m so tired of holding my breath for Apple to release some sort of iPad Xcode, and the people at Sketch said back in 2015 that it just didn’t make financial sense for them to build a touch version, so I pulled the trigger, and got the Luna on Black Friday. It arrived yesterday, and I’ve been living my dream: I’m running macOS on my iPad. Well, not so much as running it on the iPad, more like streaming it from my Mac, but it’s pretty close.


There are so many places where the iPad could benefit from some adaptation of tap-and-drag selection. […] That same heuristic could be applied to iPad text fields and layout apps such as Keynote: after holding a touch still on a text field or on the canvas for a set amount of time, the gesture could become a selection drag, and moving your finger could begin selecting the text or objects encompassed by the net dragged distance.

Previously: iPad Pro 2018, Using an iPad as a Mac mini Display, Proof That iOS Still Hasn’t Gotten Undo Right.

Update (2018-12-12): Michael Love:

This; but, RAM is still a fundamental issue we don’t have a good solution for. Essential to iPad’s nature that it always be running / turn on instantly, but you can’t do that with 16 GB RAM without a gonzo battery.

Apple can come up with an utterly flawless desktop-replacement OS for iPad in 2019, but as long as it’s stuck at 4-6 GB of RAM it’ll never be able to run Xcode or other professional apps without offloading most of the work to a server somewhere.

Colin Cornaby:

I also want to tack onto this that iOS’s no-swap-file memory architecture is basically unacceptable for pro apps. Alone it is a blocker for things like Xcode and Final Cut Pro.

Update (2018-12-19): See also: Dave Mark.

Tracking Leakers With Watermarked Screens

Cullen (via Ryan McLeod)::

One of the most fun jobs I ever had was figuring out how to embed the serial number of your Xbox 360 into rings emanating from the bottom right, so we could track and identify leaks

Majd Taby:

In 2010 someone at MobileMe encoded the IP address into the paddings and margins of the page to track leakers.


This thread post contains detailed information on how to view a hidden watermark which has been verified to exist embeded in JPG screenshots produced by the WoW client. The watermark itself includes, encoded in unencrypted bytes, the user’s account name (\World of Warcraft\WTF\Account\), an HH:MM timestamp and the IP address of the server.

The Key From Before Enabling FileVault

Lloyd Chambers:

The behavior I observe implies that turning on FileVault and supplying a password does nothing more than encrypt the encryption key already there using the user-supplied password (and presumably a random salt value or vice versa). Because if the data is already encrypted, the decryption key and/or salt value either must remain the same, or all the data must be decrypted and re-encrypted.

Which suggests some level of security risk since that key already existed without the password protection of the user-supplied encryption password. I presume that the T4 secure enclave somehow forestalls this security risk, but I do not know the details. Maybe there is some per-chip specificity that forestalls a general security weakness. Even so, that assumes hardware invulnerability, which is not possible.

I have been wondering about that, too.

Why I’m Usually Unnerved When Modern SSDs Die on Us

Chris Siebenmann:

Like most of the SSDs deaths that we’ve had, this one was very abrupt; the drive went from perfectly fine to completely unresponsive in at most 50 seconds or so, with no advance warning in SMART or anything else. One moment it was serving read and write IO perfectly happily (from all external evidence, and ZFS wasn’t complaining about read checksums) and the next moment there was no Crucial MX300 at that SAS port any more. Or at least at very close to the next moment.


What unnerves me about these sorts of abrupt SSD failures is how inscrutable they are and how I can’t construct a story in my head of what went wrong.

Epic Removes Infinity Blade From the App Store

Eli Hodapp (tweet):

The App Store had evolved considerably over the years, but one of the most distinct divisions of time in the early days of the App Store was the release of Epic’s Infinity Blade. Our review, published almost exactly eight years ago today, does a great job of illustrating just how monumental the release of this game was. Over the next few years we’d see a sequel, and then Infinity Blade III would join the mix, turning the series into a trilogy. As of today, all three games are no longer available for purchase on the App Store. If you already own them, you can re-download them, but all the IAP has been disabled and the games should be accessible for the “foreseeable future.” The reason for their removal, according to Epic is, “it has become increasingly difficult for our team to support the Infinity Blade series at a level that meets our standards.”


The game company that has the biggest hit in the world, and is raking in so much cash that they’re even opening their own online game distribution platform for developers with absurdly generous terms can’t make sense out of continuing to maintain their mobile games.

John Voorhees:

It’s a shame that a historically important series is gone but not shocking. Epic soured on paid-up-from games long ago.