Archive for June 13, 2019

Thursday, June 13, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Rejected for Opening the Application Scripts Folder

Jesse Grosjean (tweet):

App Store review is rejecting the latest TaskPaper update because of the “Open Scripts Folder” button in TaskPaper’s preferences.

[…]

Is there some other way that apps are doing this now?

Specifically TaskPaper wants to be able to run user scripts so that it can place those scripts in the Commands pallet, and run them when selected.

To review, sandboxing prevents an app from running scripts (that talk to other apps) unless they are placed in this special folder. And the folder is hidden in a deep folder hierarchy, which is inside the invisible-by-default Library folder. Apparently, apps are no longer allowed to even help the customer find this folder. AppleScript is one of the crown jewels of macOS, but recent versions and policies actively prevent people from using it.

Previously:

Update (2019-06-13): Jesse Grosjean:

Just an hour ago (after going back and forth a few times for clarification) I was told that Taskpaper was going back into review. So it seems like this IS ok, just wasn’t understood.

Jesse Grosjean:

And now a few minutes later it’s approved for release. So good ending without too much delay, just a bit stressful since you never know how long it will take or how it will end.

Meet the New Dropbox

Emil Protalinski:

Dropbox has doubled the storage space for its Plus users from 1TB to 2TB, added Rewind and Smart Sync features, and increased the price from $10 per month to $12 per month. The company has also increased the storage for its Professional plan from 2TB to 3TB and added a watermarking feature. Additionally, Dropbox will be increasing its Business plans from 3TB to 5TB and extended file version history from 120 days to 180 days.

Tim Hardwick:

Dropbox on Tuesday announced a new client for Mac and Windows that seeks to make the cloud storage service a “meta-platform” for collaborative tools in the productivity workspace.

I’ve been using iCloud Drive more and Dropbox less these days, and to avoid the CPU use problems I quit Dropbox when I’m not using it. These days my main use is to share folders with family members, e.g. for photos and 1Password. iCloud Drive will be getting shared folders in macOS 10.15, but as far as I’m aware there’s no way to actually use them from the iOS version of 1Password.

Jason Snell:

Apple: We’ve got iCloud folder sharing coming!

Me: Eh, Dropbox works really well for me and you’re still missing some stuff.

Dropbox: Enterprise collaboration! Google Docs and Slack inside a Dropbox!

Me: Uh, you were saying, Apple?

Ben Sandofsky:

Dropbox now uses over half a gig of memory. Let’s peak into its frameworks folder.

Nick Heer:

My only two requests for this version of Dropbox were for it to use as much memory as possible and somehow also be a web browser, and boy did they deliver. Thanks, Dropbox.

Ken Hayes:

Cheeky of @dropbox to raise subscription cost >20% and double capacity, though I only used 15% of it. Price gap is too large from a $0 useless tier to $120/yr “rolls royce” Plus. Why not do 500 Gb for $50/yr tier and pick up way more prosumers? Now evaluating alternatives...

They’ve got to lose less that 1/6th (~17%) of the current user base to break even on such a price hike. What’s dumb is that I’m a satisfied user - and would pay $99 forever - but now I’m going to take the effort to look for a better deal - and probably cancel for good.

John Price:

So @Dropbox just casually drops an email to tell me they’re raising the price by 54%. […] There is no plan smaller than the 54% increase so I have no choice. Worse customer treatment than an insurance company or a telco.

Previously:

Update (2019-06-13): Yashendra Shukla:

It’s incredible how Dropbox went from the leanest native cross platform software to the most expensive bloated crap.

Nick Heer:

I suppose Dropbox’s new client is indicative of their increased emphasis on enterprise customers. It sure seems like they’re more eager to compete with Slack and Microsoft than they are to provide syncing tools to individual customers. I’ll respond accordingly by making sure no files or apps I rely upon are dependent on Dropbox.

John Gruber (tweet):

I don’t want any of this. All I want from Dropbox is a folder that syncs perfectly across my devices and allows sharing with friends and colleagues. That’s it: a folder that syncs with sharing. And that’s what Dropbox was.

Federico Viticci:

Yes I’m aware that Dropbox offers a lot more features than iCloud Drive. I pay for it! And I hope Apple copies some of them.

But I mostly need a service that syncs well, with sub-folders I can share with other people. That’s it.

Jason:

Not to mention that iCloud is now using the same native On-Demand Files API on Windows now, making it a first class citizen on macOS, iOS/iPadOS, and Windows 10!

Update (2019-06-14): @braz:

[When] I switched to Catalina, and OneDrive didn’t work, I shifted a lot of my ~1.5TB of cloud files to iCloud.

Rock solid, easy syncing. Really looking forward to folder sharing.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Mike Rundle:

Dropbox is in a bad place. They have to expand beyond just syncing/sharing to prove they’re a growing, public software company, but if they alienate long-time users along the way they’ll erode their core userbase. Not sure what path they can take.

Update (2019-06-17): Curtis Herbert:

Your product either dies a hero or lives long enough to alienate its early fans as you start chasing that sweet sweet B2B revenue.

Russell Ivanovic:

Watching people leaving DropBox for iCloud Drive like

I’ve tried it a few times and the opaqueness of the syncing is incredibly frustrating. I’ve tried Google Drive and their desktop app sucks even worse.

I’m all for lean clean apps. But they have to actually work seamlessly

Geoff Knauth:

Beware file loss when moving files/folders from iCloud to Dropbox. (I think this is Apple’s responsibility.)

Update (2019-06-25): Tony Arnold:

What catastrophic mismanagement happened at Dropbox for it to get to the point where the desktop app component takes more CPU than Xcode?

And even when it recovers after a sync, it continues to slow down every other process.

We’re a long way from 2012.

Update (2019-07-08): Khoi Vinh:

Over the years I’ve hooked numerous apps and services into my Dropbox account, which is why I started paying for the professional plan seven years ago. And yet each year, at renewal time, I think a bit more deeply about the question of whether Dropbox is in fact so indispensable. This is the very boring story of how I came to realize that it’s not.

Update (2019-07-11): Ron Gilbert:

Thing is, I don’t want to engage with Dropbox, I want it to silently (and magically) run in the background.

What’s next dropbox? A Dropbox social feed?

Update (2019-07-18): Marco Arment:

Great. Now Dropbox has this app I don’t want and it pops itself up every so often for no reason.

It’s like Dropbox is trying their hardest to lose customers.

Glenn Fleishman:

Honest to goodness, I saw a Dropbox app in my dock and switched to it, and thought for a moment I’d been infected by malware.

Malcolm Hall:

I’m unhappy with Dropbox using 500MB of RAM and 100% CPU when I’m using rm -r in Terminal. But I’m also unhappy with iCloud’s dependency on Spotlight and requiring to re-upload its entire Drive after cloning to a new Mac instead of just diffing file hashes.

Tony Arnold:

Narrator: this did not end well.

Git repos stores in iCloud Drive die a horrible death if you try to actually interact with them.

Marco Arment:

What we want Dropbox to be: a folder that syncs, with basic shared-folder and share-link support, for which many of us will pay a reasonable monthly fee.

That would be a great business.

But it’s not enough for them. They want to be the next Microsoft Office/Google Docs/Slack.

In a way, “just a feature” was right — folder sync isn’t the kind of business Wall St. and VCs want.

But Dropbox could have been an incredibly successful normal business.

Instead, it will keep becoming a mediocre business-collaboration platform, at the expense of our feature.

The sad thing is that they won’t succeed. They have very little chance of competing well in the arena they’ve put themselves in.

Curtis Herbert:

It would be great business if it weren’t for the fact that they’ve raised lots of funding. You’re talking about a healthy business, not a unicorn, which is what VCs want to see.

Peter Cohen:

When Dropbox’s creators presented their idea to Steve Jobs, he told them that it was a feature, not a product. Dropbox became a hugely successful product and now it wants to become a platform.

That should give us all pause, because our relationship with platform providers is fundamentally different than our relationship with app publishers.

Dropbox Support:

We recently announced a new desktop app experience that is now currently available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short period of time. We’re currently working to revert this change. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Marco Arment:

“That immensely unpopular change we forced onto all of you yesterday? We only meant to force it on some of you. The rest of you weren’t supposed to get it forced upon you until later.”

Doesn’t really fix the problem, does it?

Nick Heer:

You probably noticed the new app when it self-importantly plopped its icon into your MacOS dock today and jumped to the foreground on its own volition. It’s a very rude new app that occupies several times as much hard drive space because it includes a full copy of the Chromium embedded framework.

Josh Centers:

They could have kept the web hosting feature and charged money for it. Or added additional paid tiers besides the one. There are so many obvious opportunities they left on the table that wouldn’t have mucked up their product.

Update (2019-07-19): Ron Amadeo (Hacker News):

This new update implements different weird or workflow-breaking changes depending on which OS you’re on. On Windows, double-clicking the tray icon no longer opens your Dropbox folder by default, and it instead opens the Dropbox file manager. On macOS, Dropbox now likes to repeatedly spawn a Dropbox dock icon. You can remove it, but it will reappear every time you restart your computer. Dropbox support says it is not possible to turn this dock icon off. On Linux, well, Dropbox doesn’t care enough about Linux to port the file manager app over. Lucky penguins.

[…]

Dropbox was quietly one of the Web’s best services for years, and after a lot of growth, the company held an IPO last year. Since then, the stock has struggled to stay above its IPO price, and it’s clear the company is getting more aggressive to try to convert users and get people to treat Dropbox as more than “just a folder.”

Update (2019-07-23): Ben Sandofsky:

Quitting the new Dropbox file manager from the dock just hides it. It’s still sitting in the background, consuming resources for no reason. Your only option is to kill all of Dropbox, which includes syncing.

Update (2019-07-26): See also: The Talk Show.

Update (2019-11-25): Ben Sandofsky:

Quitting the new Dropbox file manager from the dock just hides it. It’s still sitting in the background, consuming resources for no reason. Your only option is to kill all of Dropbox, which includes syncing.

Five months after launch, the new Dropbox consumes one gigabyte of memory in the background.

Legal at Apple Scale

Juli Clover:

Establishing a billion dollar search engine deal with Google took Apple more than four months, according to new details shared today by former Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell.

[…]

Sewell says that in his time at Apple, he had 900 people working under him. 600 of those were in the law group and included lawyers and paralegals.

In just one of the Samsung lawsuits, Apple had 350 people billing time on that case at any given moment, most of which were outside counsel because it’s impossible for Apple to handle cases of that magnitude with an internal team. “And this was just one of them. There were seven of them going on,” said Sewell.

There were seven or eight billion documents to review, and collectively, law firms billed Apple 280,000 hours. Sewell says his budget was “just shy of a billion dollars a year.”

I wonder whether Apple is looking at ways to protect the privacy of the customers it’s sending to Google search. Right now, services revenue seems to trump privacy.