Archive for June 12, 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Feedback Assistant Replaces Bug Reporter

Apple:

You can now submit developer feedback and file bug reports to Apple using the native Feedback Assistant app for iOS and Mac, or the Feedback Assistant website. When you file a bug, you’ll receive a Feedback ID to track the bug within the app or on the website.

The native app definitely makes submitting easier. And there are more subcategories to classify your bug and fewer text fields that you need to fill in, which I think is good.

But the database migration was a disaster. All my old bugs—I’m assuming because there’s no obvious way to check—are there but were assigned essentially the same date. So there’s no way to sort by when I filed them. They all show up as when they were migrated. This, combined with the poor search, makes it nearly impossible to find anything. I was by no means a prolific Radar filer, and my bug list is upwards of 20 pages long on a 30-inch display.

Partly, this is because the list includes—and shows as Open—some bugs that were marked as closed in the old system. Fortunately, in recent years I have been saving local copies of my bugs in OmniOutliner, so I have a partial local index to help find things.

The bug ID numbers have also all changed, though the old ones are available appended to the titles.

Lastly, the bugs are almost unreadable because it looks like all the line breaks were removed from the Description field.

Lily Ballard:

Wow, RadarWeb is gone. It’s now Feedback Assistant. Unfortunately it’s not showing me my old radars.

I feel like maybe they should have waited until after the big developer conference before doing something that potentially screws with developers’ ability to see old radars.

Russell Ivanovic:

The new Apple Feedback site is magic. I apparently posted all my bugs on the 23rd of April 2019 at 9.04pm and engineers instantly responded in the same minute.

Peter Steinberger:

Feedback Assistant imported all old radars and completely broke the ordering of my radars. They list the creation date as April 15-17, mostly :/

Kyle Seth Gray:

Apple now tells you how and why a radar was closed. Duplicates are now referred to as similar issues, and it will actually tell you if a fix has been shipped

Avi Drissman:

Feedback Assistant fails when I try to submit an issue with backtraces.

[…]

Moral of the story: do not put backtraces in your description. Put them in text files and attach them.

Peter Steinberger:

Feedback Assistant is worse than the open source tools we had before.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The friction removed by having a native, always-accessible Radar app in iOS and macOS means it is so easy to submit feedback now — almost as easy as typing them into Notes for later. I think I’ve filed more Radars this past week than in the past year

Update (2019-06-13): Patrick Wardle:

How does one submit a bug report if Apple’s bug reporter itself is (or appears to be) broken? 🤔

1st report resulted in blank “Untitled” event being filed and now, report #2 is just spinning on “Sending feedback to Apple” 😥

…maybe this is why ppl post 0days to Twitter 🤣

Update (2019-06-17): JP Simard:

Well that’s it, I give up. Feedback Assistant is just throwing away all my bug reports.

Update (2019-06-18): Damien Petrilli:

You don’t know if the website is loaded or not, no feedback when you click a button. It doesn’t plain work.

How can this crap been shipped. How can any manager at Apple say “this is ok, go for it”.

Feedbacks website just doesn’t work on the web at all. You get multiple text box to add a comment, none of them works.

Update (2019-06-19): Daniel Jalkut:

With apologies to all the hardworking engineers at Apple, the new Feedback Assistant will result in less collaboration from 3rd party developers in fixing bugs in Apple software. My response to requests to update status on bugs all look something like this now.

Update (2019-06-27): Daniel Jalkut:

One of the changes with Apple’s new Feedback Assistant is engineers at Apple are evidently not able to see who filed a bug.

I got a private message asking me I was behind a specific bug report. It had a tell-tale punkass vibe to it, I guess!

JP Simard:

I’ve had such bad luck with Feedback Assistant in the last few weeks, I’m now always writing it in a local editor first until I can confirm successful submission.

Matt Diephouse:

So… Feedback Assistant has an inbox with messages that you can’t get rid of?

I guess I won’t make it to inbox zero. 😳

Update (2019-07-23): Peter Steinberger:

Wee, Apple fixed the radar creation date in Feedback Assistant. I can scroll back to my first one in 2010 again :)

Update (2019-07-25): Colin Cornaby:

Getting emails back from Feedback Assistant saying none of my bugs have attachments, even though I can see the attachments in Feedback Assistant.

Feedback Assistant won’t let me download them again so I wonder if it ate them.

Update (2019-08-06): Peter Steinberger:

Was curious why Feedback Assistant feels so slow. Did a Sample with Activity Monitor. The Auto Layout Engine seems to spent a ton of time laying out cells… using the Web View is comparably faster

Update (2019-08-20): Max Seelemann.

Believe it or not, they are blaming me for not being able to re-download a sample project from a feedback I filed 1.5 months ago.

Update (2019-08-22): Daniel Jalkut:

Apple has restored the ability to download the attachments that were submitted with bug reports. They seem to be available via the web interface to Feedback Reporter, hopefully coming to the Catalina app, too.

GarageSale Pro Subscriptions

Ilja A. Iwas (via tweet):

eBay’s strategy has changed a lot since we first introduced GarageSale in 2004. There are now less private sellers on eBay, which were GarageSale’s original target audience. At the same time the share of professional and semi-professional seller went up.

As a result, we have now less, but more demanding GarageSale users. To keep GarageSale a viable business, we are introducing a dual license model with GarageSale 8:

If you are listing less than 50 items on eBay per month and don’t need the ‘Synching’ feature, you can purchase or upgrade to GarageSale 8 for a one time fee of $39.99 (new license) or $19.99 (upgrade fee). (The upgrade will be free if you purchased your GarageSale 7 license after April 1st, 2018.

If you are listing more than 50 items per month, you’ll need a GarageSale Pro subscription for $14.99/month or $149.99/year[…]

It’s a huge price increase for the pro customers, but—and I guess this is easy for me to say as one of the casual users—it seems reasonable for a specialized professional product like this. If you’re using it to run a store, it’s saving you tons of time each year, and you’re already paying a lot more to other companies.

Freedolin:

I am, like many others, not a big fan of software subscription, though. I understand and accept that it can make sense in certain scenarios, but I find it a matter of respect towards clients to offer it as a choice. The moment I feel blackmailed into a subscription, I am out… and my understanding is that I am not alone with this attitude.

Let me repeat: I do understand your needs to change to a more predictable income. Or higher income per license, especially from commercial users. And I would be more than happy to support future development as well as current support by buying a Pro license that is priced higher than the basic or current version of GS, if you give me that choice. Right now, all you offer is: license, but only up to 50 listings per month. That wouldn’t work for me (I am above that level). Or, buy the subscription… which I don’t want. That’s why I feel blackmailed. A piece of software, that I use daily, and love to use, suddenly no longer offers me a license model to feel comfortable with.

That’s why I am an ex-Adobe user, an ex-Ulysses user, an ex-TextExpander user and likely an ex-1Password user soon. I am still a CaptureOne user and an Office 365 subscriber, because those two offer me a choice (and regarding MS Office the subscription made sense in my case… I am not a subscription hater per se).

I think there’s something to this—people who are willing to pay more but feel boxed in by subscriptions—but I’m not sure what the answer is. I assume that the reason subscriptions are usually accompanied by price increases is that a sizable number of customers drop out when that’s the only choice. But if you start with the baseline of a subscription business model and want to let some users opt for a perpetual license, clearly it has to be priced even higher than the yearly subscription or you’ll lose most of the subscribers. Of course, you could skip the subscription option and just raise the price. But then you end up charging the same price for someone who’s only selling 51 items or only during the summer as for someone selling thousands of items throughout a year. It’s hard.

David Smith (tweet):

One of the main reasons I have stayed away from them so far is that there is always something tricky about making subscriptions feel good for customers. One of the reasons so many businesses like them is that you set it up once and then the customer doesn’t have to continue taking action to keep paying you. Which is great as long as the user wants to keep paying you, but super sketchy if they don’t.

There is a concept in user interface design called the Principle of Least Surprise, where you want to design systems in such a way that they surprise their users least. I think a similar concept applies to subscription pricing. The ideal (from a user friendliness perspective, not best business perspective) system for customer subscriptions should never surprise the customer with a charge. The customer should always be happy to see a charge appear on their credit card.

In other words, their subscription payments should always be Intentional.

Joe Cieplinski:

As far as being able to cancel your subscription right from the notification itself is concerned, I think this sounds better on paper than it would be in practice. People don’t read their notifications carefully. I see a ton of people accidentally unsubscribing to apps, then getting super confused when their apps no longer work. This would lead to increased support load for everyone. Tapping on the notification should take you directly to the subscriptions page on the App Store, however.

Previously: Productivity Apps and Subscription Pricing.

Update (2019-08-13): See also Garage Sale 8 subscription price, Grief From Transitioning to Subscriptions.

Google Chrome: Open Source + DRM

Cory Doctorow:

Mako was focused on the ways that “software as a service” subverted free/open software licenses, but just as pernicious is “digital rights management” (DRM), which is afforded a special kind of legal protection under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act: under this rule, it’s illegal to reverse-engineer and re-implement code that has some connection with restricting access to copyrighted works. That means that once a product or service has a skin of DRM around it, the company that controls that DRM also controls who can make an interoperable product.

[…]

Prior to 2017, all W3C standards were free for anyone to implement, allowing free/open browser developers to create their own rivals to the big companies’ offerings. But now, a key W3C standard requires a proprietary component to be functional, and that component is under Google’s control, and the company will not authorize free/open source developers to use that component.

[…]

Wait for the next shoe to drop: DMCA 1201 is so badly drafted that it exposes security researchers to criminal and civil penalties if they reveal defects in DRM systems.

Jason Koebler:

The [government] move is a landmark win for the “right to repair” movement; essentially, the federal government has ruled that consumers and repair professionals have the right to legally hack the firmware of “lawfully acquired” devices for the “maintenance” and “repair” of that device. Previously, it was legal to hack tractor firmware for the purposes of repair; it is now legal to hack many consumer electronics.

Specifically, it allows breaking digital rights management (DRM) and embedded software locks for “the maintenance of a device or system … in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications” or for “the repair of a device or system … to a state of working in accordance with its original specifications.”

Previously: