Archive for September 27, 2019

Friday, September 27, 2019

Apple’s Use of Swift in iOS 13

Alexandre Colucci (Hacker News):

The new iOS 13 features have with no surprise been built with some Swift code in their corresponding application. This is the case of the FindMy, Reminders and Sidecar apps. Also worth noting is the use of Swift in the Health, Book and Shortcuts apps.


If we exclude the Swift libraries, iOS 13.1 contains 141 binaries using Swift, more than doubling the number from iOS 12[…]


iOS 13 Autocorrect Is Drunk

John Gruber:

One thing I and others have noticed is that when you type a dictionary word correctly — meaning you hit the exact right keys on the on-screen keyboard — iOS 13 autocorrect will replace it with a different dictionary word that makes no contextual sense. Even beyond dictionary words, I’m seeing really strange corrections.

I think this has been going on since before iOS 13.


Update (2019-10-11): Philip:

It is so bad. I could rely on iOS 12 to propose the right words and correct typos. iOS 13 feels like I have to re-teach the AI. Also umlauts in German are a mess. It never propose the right word.

Tanner Bennett:

iOS 11 is when they switched to a “machine learning” based autocorrect engine, which is the cause of all this.

Riccardo Mori:

That’s why after switching from my iPhone 5 with iOS 10 to the new iPhone 8 with iOS 12, my initial impressions were that autocorrect was simply worse and felt ‘untrained’. I didn’t realise that what messed things up was the keyboard switching while writing a word.

But even within a single language, autocorrect under iOS 12 does indeed feel less smart than under iOS 10.


Patrick Wardle (via Leo M):

Malware installs itself persistently, to ensure it’s automatically re-executed at reboot. BlockBlock continually monitors common persistence locations and displays an alert whenever a persistent component is added to the OS.


This alert contains the name and path of the process that installed the persistent component, as well as details about the actual persistent component. Moreover, it shows if the process (that created the persisted item) is signed by Apple, signed by a 3rd-party, or is unsigned[…]

It’s the equivalent of LittleSnitch for auto-launching background processes.


Is Single-user Mode Dead?

Howard Oakley:

Even with Recovery Mode available, there have still been some reasons for wanting to enter SUM. One of them has been to run command tools to check memory for faults, as in SUM the system takes as little memory as possible, allowing you to run checks on all the rest. Sometimes fsck run from SUM could fix problems which Disk Utility in Recovery Mode couldn’t.


The biggest problem comes with Macs equipped with a T2 chip, and its Secure Boot. If it were available, a traditional SUM would bypass Secure Boot, so it isn’t allowed if your Mac has a T2 chip: Command-R will take you to Recovery, and that’s as close as your Mac can get, unless you disable Secure Boot by setting the Startup Security Utility to No Security. And you have to do that in Recovery anyway.

Subscribers Are Your True Fans

David Barnard (tweet):

Paying once for an app really only makes sense if the app provides minimal functionality of limited value and won’t benefit from continued improvement.


With paid apps, people often end up buying several apps just to figure out which one best fits their needs. Let’s say they spent $3 each on 4 apps, that’s $12 they were willing to pay for a great app, but that great app they settled on only gets $3. Since most subscription apps have free trials, and many even have ad supported free tiers, people can try multiple apps and then only pay for the one they actually use.


Sure, some potential customers (or existing customers if you transition from another business model to subscriptions) are going to complain about the subscription model. It’s hard to hear someone tell you that they don’t value what you’ve built, but the smart thing to do is focus on the people who are subscribing, your true fans. Figure out who they are and look for ways to reach more people like them instead of focusing on the vocal minority that complain.

Julian Schiavo:

My apps been rejected with a short message basically saying ‘your app can’t use auto renewing subscriptions’, any tips/experience on this? All the other apps of this type use auto renewing subscriptions 🤷‍♂️

Reginald Braithwaite:

The simple model I keep in my head, is that your revenue model should parallel your expense model.

If they don’t, you’re both running a business AND engaging in arbitrage. That’s two things you have to get right, instead of one.

David Barnard:

This tweet reminds me of a chart by @macguru17. When you’re building an app, even one that doesn’t have ongoing costs like weather data or servers, the cost of continued development keeps putting you underwater before each update.

I don’t think most people realize how much most indie developers sacrifice to keep the lights on. In 11 years, I’ve probably only been cash flow positive 48 months. With paid apps, I’d build up a war chest with a big launch/update/sale, then spend it down working on the next.

I’ve even gone into debt to squeak by until the next big update. People seem to think all developers are rich & greedy. But it’s like any other small business. Most struggle, some do well, a few really well. But businesses don’t drop prices because they are doing well. 🙃


Twitter “Hide Replies” and Timeline Swiping

Tim Hardwick:

Twitter today rolled out its new “Hide Replies” feature in the U.S. and Japan, providing Twitter users with more control over the replies that are visible following a tweet.

The idea behind the feature is to give people more control over the conversations they start on the social media platform, so they can hide replies that are offensive and the hidden reply won’t show up to others as a response to the original tweet.


So people can post false information and hide/censor anyone who calls them out on their lies or conduct.

Ben Sandofsky:

Decided to try the “Hide Reply” feature, and I noticed the hidden tweets got way more attention than if I’d just ignored them.

It turns out this pop up appears when you visit my tweet.

Juli Clover:

Twitter today implemented a feature that’s designed to allow lists of Twitter users to be pinned to the Home screen and swiped between, allowing for easy access to multiple customizable timelines.

Update (2019-09-30): Colin Devroe:

Also, Lists do not suffer from the Home timelines terrible algorithm. For that reason alone it is worth building a List or two.


I cannot imagine using Twitter without Lists. So I’m glad they are investing in the feature rather than removing or ignoring it.

Update (2019-11-01): Devon Zuegel:

Fun to see people use Twitter’s new “Hide reply” feature to clean up threads!

They’re adapting the new tool—originally intended to remove abusive/spammy comments—for increasing the signal:noise ratio by hiding low-value responses (e.g. @threadreaderapp requests)

New Stack Overflow CEO

Ingrid Lunden (in 2017, via Hacker News):

TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that the startup has conducted a substantial number of layoffs across the company as it looks to steer the business more towards its core Q&A products and away from areas that were seeing less demand. As part of this, the company is also closing its offices in Denver.


A source that contacted TechCrunch claimed that the number of people affected worked out to about 20 percent of Stack Overflow’s 300 employees, or 60 people.


As some of the jobs affected pointed to staff in the company’s recruitment business Careers, our source said that the company was “looking to pivot away” from this business, but Stack Overflow has confirmed this is not the case in a second statement it issued after the first one.

Joel Spolsky (Hacker News):

Last March, I shared that we were starting to look for a new CEO for Stack Overflow. We were looking for that rare combination of someone who could foster the community while accelerating the growth of our businesses, especially Teams, where we are starting to close many huge deals and becoming a hyper-growth enterprise software company very quickly.


At Rackspace, Prashanth [Chandrasekar] really proved his mettle, creating from scratch a completely new business unit inside the company, the Global Managed Public Clouds Business. This group serves companies around the world who need help running on AWS, Azure, Google, and so on. Under his leadership, Rackspace successfully pivoted from a leading managed hosting company to a cloud services company. And he did this while working with developers both inside Rackspace and outside, so he understands our vision of “writing the script for the future” better than anyone I’ve met.


[Too] bad they’re on the hyper-growth train now as well, but I guess their investors want to get some money back. I’d preferred seeing them grow slow and stable, because I feel that focusing solely on growth often leads to decisions not in the interest of the users.


They have def given up their regular users in this point. Ads thing shared here is one item recently. Also think they can re license my content without asking.

Mad Scientist (via Hacker News):

The trigger for this issue was a report that one of the ads on SO was trying to start an audio context in the browser. One of the answers shows that the main purpose of the suspect script is to fingerprint the browser. I looked a bit at that script myself, and that ad contains a ~80 kB minified Javascript file that really looks like the only purpose of it is to query all kinds of obscure details about the environment, and I can’t see any other purpose for this except tracking users without the restrictions cookies or other systems impose.


This is still there on the original post and not retracted. The later meta post by SE paints an entirely different picture. It is evasive and in my opinion missing the point entirely. The Stack Exchange response claims that no PII is collected, which is really not what this is about. Fingerpinting is about being able to track a user across sites without the browser security getting in the way, identifying the user is a separate process. You don’t have to collect PII to fingerprint users, but it’s still a very invasive thing to do with a drastic effect on the privacy of users.


it seems clear that SO Jobs didn’t work, but enterprise sales is the key, just based on what they emphasized in the announcement. Using the SaaS website as a loss leader advertisement for the shrinkwrap software is an interesting model


Maybe Stack Overflow Jobs would work better if they’d publicly state what their job ad pricing is and if they’d improve the user experience (e.g. there is no way to get a nice looking printable version of the developer story).


So the new CEO is MBA and doesn’t even seem to have profile on StackOverflow. This tell me he has little clue how this complex community hangs on balance and what makes it tick. It’s also painful to see that we have now one of the largest website for developers run by guy who isn’t a developer.


I can’t help but reminded of Jobs bringing in Scully with enthusiasm to do “business things”. I have admired Joel’s writing and wisdom for years but this somehow feels wrong given they could have chose almost anyone from their vast highly dedicated user base who understands the complex dynamics in SO community. Do we expect full blown value destroying commercialization of SO from now on?


I predict Microsoft will acquire SO in the next 5 years.