Archive for August 22, 2019

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Microsoft Edge for Mac Beta

Juli Clover (Hacker News):

Previously, the Microsoft Edge browser was available as a preview build, but Microsoft has now graduated to an official beta. Microsoft’s beta channel represents more stable software than the preview channel.


The beta version of the Edge browser features new personalization options, such as tab page customization, dark theme support, and extensions from the Microsoft Insider Addons store or other Chromium-based web stores like the Chrome Web Store.

Tracking prevention has been added to protect users from being tracked by websites, built-in Microsoft Search for Bing, and Internet Explorer mode with Internet Explorer 11 compatibility.

Paul Thurrott (via Hacker News):

Thanks to the open-source nature of Chromium, Microsoft has had its first major and positive impact on Chrome, Google’s web browser. Thanks to a feature request from Microsoft, Google will issue a change to Chromium, the open-source project by which Google makes Chrome, that significantly improves battery life.

“Today, media content is cached to disk during acquisition and playback,” Microsoft’s Shawn Pickett explains in his change suggestion for Chromium. “Keeping the disk active during this process increases power consumption in general, and [it] can also prevent certain lower-power modes from being engaged in the operating system. Since media consumption is a high-usage scenario, this extra power usage has a negative impact on battery life. This change will prevent the caching of certain media content to disk for the purpose of improving device battery life for users.”


[Microsoft’s] most major chromium impact is to move input handling off the main thread which has been empirically a massive success on Edge.


Storing Your Apple Card Wrong

Apple (via MacRumors, The Verge):

If your titanium Apple Card comes into contact with hard surfaces or materials, it’s possible that the coating can be damaged.


Some fabrics, like leather and denim, might cause permanent discoloration that will not wash off.


Place your card in a slot in your wallet or billfold without touching another credit card. If two credit cards are placed in the same slot your card could become scratched.

Marco Arment:

I always store my credit card in a leather wallet, in a slot with two other cards, in my denim jeans pocket — and I don’t think this is a rare setup.

John Gruber (tweet):

If Apple Card gets genuinely sloppy-looking after carrying it like you would any other card — if it’s atypically prone to staining or scratching — that’s a problem. But I suspect these are instructions for obsessives who want to keep their cards in mint condition.

Joe Cieplinski:

All kidding aside, Apple is clearly trying to get out in front of the eventual story. And the strategy will likely be pretty effective.

I hope that’s it.

Dr. Drang (tweet):

My complaint is not that the Apple Card may lose its luster in a wallet. I’m not sure anything will maintain its looks when put between sheets of leather and compressed by my butt. My complaint is that Apple wrote a support document that looks absurd and invites snarky comments. Everything Apple does generates derision from Apple haters; this generated derision from Apple’s best customers.

The support document is, in fact, putting function over form. Apple wants to tell its customers that the card won’t look brand new forever and advise them on the best way to store it. That’s the function of the document. But through bad writing—how many people read this before it was published?—it looks like Apple made a fragile card and is advising you to store it in a way that will destroy it.

Peter N Lewis:

Only Apple could make a titanium card that can get scratched by plastic cards…

Jessie Char:

Apple design’s OCD is showing. Not everyone is going to obsess over physical credit card maintenance and by the sound of it the cards will look bad with average treatment.

Apple’s biggest strength can be its biggest weakness. Everyone’s so focused on flawless execution that they forget consumers aren’t also going treat the products with white gloves. To them it’s a sculpture, to us it’s a thing we want to use and not worry about.

Vítor Galvão:

Apple is supposed to be the design company. This card is bad design (it gets worn out by contact with common material).

Daren Ulmer:

What would any of their products be if you didn’t need some kind of dongle to use them in a normal manner?

Storm Garelli:

“Apple Card Socks!”

Jessica Glenn:

2011 iPhone4: avoid contact with hands

2016 MacBook Keyboard: avoid contact with fingers

2019 Apple Card: avoid contact with wallet or jeans

2022 Apple Car: avoid contact with road

Felix Salmon (via John Gordon):

The Apple Card is a “World Elite” Mastercard, which carries the highest possible interchange fee in all circumstances. That fee, which can range as high as 3.25% plus 10 cents, is taken off the top of any payment before the merchant receives anything. The fee is the same whether you use the physical Apple Card or the virtual one on your phone.

The Apple Card is the first card without an annual fee to get World Elite status, payments consultant Richard Crone tells Axios. And it’s almost certainly the first to get issued to subprime borrowers.

Update (2019-08-22): Zed Murray:

Worst on the mag strip and edges. But everywhere on the card that looks “dirty” cannot be rubbed off, it’s from the white that has already come off

Definitely looks worse than a regular card.

Update (2019-08-23): Dominic Rushe:

The news triggered plenty of jokes online, with people offering suggestions for Apple, such as making a knitted cosy for the card or hanging the card in a “floating glass frame in a dimly lit, year round 70 degree, humidity controlled location. No flash photography please.”

Bruce Tognazzini:

The Apple mania for visual design at the expense of usability has reached a new apex: The new Apple credit card must not be kept in anything made of leather or denim, nor left adjacent to other cards. In other words, leave it at home.

See also: Hacker News.

Update (2019-08-29): Matt Birchler:

I can only speak for my social/workplace circles, but Apple’s “Apple Card shouldn’t really touch leather or denim” message has added tons of wood to the “Apple doesn’t design things for human beings” fire.

Joshua Emmons:

Enough with the weird obsessing over a care doc for the Apple Card. They have these for every one of their products. The story isn’t that they don’t want you to put it in you wallet, it’s that they’re treating it as a full-fledged product.

I mean, the cleaning guide for the iPhone case literally says it’s best not to clean it. And then suggests to also keep it away from water, oil, denim, and sunlight. It’s just they way these are written.

However, Apple Card actually does seem to be a lot more sensitive.

Update (2019-09-03): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast and The Talk Show.

Update (2019-09-09): I received my Apple Card, and it started out with some of the coating scraped off the magnetic strip. This is the first time in 20+ years of using credit cards that a new one did not arrive in perfect condition. So I’m inclined to believe that it’s more fragile than a regular plastic card.

On the plus side, the edges of the card are less sharp than I expected based on what I’d read.

Why Spiderweb’s Games “Look Like Crap”

Jeff Vogel (via Dare Obasanjo, Hacker News):

The key problem here is that, when most people say, “Your art looks bad,” what they mean is, “I want art that is good.” They mean, “I want AAA-quality art.” And I can’t make that. Not even close.

I have had games where I worked very hard to improve the graphics, spending a lot of time and money, and they really did look better! But when I released those games, the vast majority of people who had said, “Your games look bad.” STILL said, “Your games look bad.”


When you spend more money, you need to increase sales to match those expenses. Make sure you have a good chance of doing this, and make sure you can stomach the risk.


That is why all of my games have a more generic fantasy style. I have to work with a lot of different artists. It’s the nature of the business. Thus I have to write games in a way that the artists can be replaced. The generic style this requires is not ideal, but it is necessary.

Update (2019-08-29): Jeff Vogel (tweet, Hacker News):

Basically, my blog post said, “Some people like my art, but I am still super-bad at art. Always have been. Fixing the problem costs time and cash, and I don’t have any of either to spare. So that’s why our games look bad.”

I got a lot of questions about this. Good questions. Why can’t I afford art direction? How much does art cost? Why don’t I do this or that smart thing? So that’s why I’m writing this. I want to answer the good questions.

Why Generics in Go?

Ian Lance Taylor (via Hacker News):

If we can write generic types, we can define new data structures, like these, that have the same type-checking advantages as [the built-in] slices and maps: the compiler can statically type-check the types of the values that they hold, and the values can be stored as themselves, not as interface types.

It should also be possible to take algorithms like the ones mentioned earlier and apply them to generic data structures.


Most importantly, Go today is a simple language. Go programs are usually clear and easy to understand. A major part of our long process of exploring this space has been trying to understand how to add generics while preserving that clarity and simplicity. We need to find mechanisms that fit well into the existing language, without turning it into something quite different.


We are working on actual implementations to allow us to experiment with this design. It’s important to be able to try out the design in practice, to make sure that we can write the kinds of programs we want to write.

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Josh Centers:

The downside of this workaround is the amount of gear involved: a USB cable from Apple’s adapter to the hub and the hub’s beefy charging brick. I’d prefer not to travel with such a collection. Plus, the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter supports only USB 2.0 speeds, which aren’t ideal for transferring data quickly.

So I (figuratively) kicked myself when I learned that Apple sells another Lightning to USB adapter that works better for this scenario: the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter. It costs only $10 more and supports USB 3.0 speeds, at least on iPad Pro models. More importantly, it features both a USB-A port and a Lightning passthrough port. The Lightning passthrough port is helpful because you can connect a normal Lightning cable to it, and plug that Lightning cable into one of Apple’s tiny USB wall chargers. Then it can both charge your device and power accessories like thumb drives.

Seems like they should stop selling the old adapter so people don’t buy the wrong one.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

Below are some immediate gripes and comments I have regarding external keyboard implementation in the current beta of iPadOS 13[…]