Archive for October 13, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Podcasts in Catalina


The new Podcasts app deleted years of downloaded podcasts when I updated, including a lot that are no longer hosted on the web. For some reason the “sensible default” in the new app is to delete anything beyond the most recent ten episodes. Now I need to remember to restore from backup before it gets overwritten, heh.

Beware. But, for me, it did not do this. Instead, it left my iTunes library in place, not migrating it at all, and showed me the list of podcasts from years ago, before I had turned off the Sync podcast subscriptions and settings option in iTunes.

So, naturally I wanted to delete all those old podcasts and import my new ones. I found that:

Overall, the Mac version of Podcasts seems like a huge regression from what we had with iTunes. There’s no standard table view of all the episodes. There’s no list of shows, just a grid of icons. The interface is very modal. You can tell it’s a Catalyst app because instead of sheets you get these little popovers with narrow, rounded text fields and flat buttons like in no other Mac app.

So I’m looking for a replacement app for archiving podcasts. (I mostly listen on my phone using Overcast.) I checked out a bunch of RSS readers—NetNewsWire 5, Reeder, Vienna, Leaf, News Explorer—but none seem to support auto-downloading attachments.

I have previously had success with Downcast, but several times it got totally messed up and could no longer read its own files. This seems to have been caused by a sandbox bug, so maybe that’s fixed in Catalina. I’ll probably give it another try.

I’ve also heard that Newsboat can handle RSS attachments. I’d prefer an actual Mac app. But I’ll use something text-based and cross-platform if it works well. Isn’t this what Catalyst was supposed to prevent?


Update (2019-10-14): Colin Cornaby:

It’s a weird app and I quickly get frustrated with it in a way I never was with iTunes.

The blurry text and images on a non-Retina display doesn’t help either.

Andrew Pontious:

Still amazes me that the kinda shitty, nonstandard cross-platform apps that Apple was always so disdainful of are now being shipped by Apple.

Update (2019-10-23): Dr. Drang:

Thought I’d give Apple’s Podcasts app (iOS) a chance. It’s been quite a while since the last time I tried it, and it’s supposed to be much improved.

So, um, where’s the Import Subscriptions command?

Update (2019-10-31): Colin Cornaby:

Launch images/nibs on Catalyst apps are super weird. Especially when the launch image is the iPad interface, and not the actual Mac interface.

Looking at you Mac Podcasts.

Brad Vrolijk:

Even some of Apple’s Catalyst apps have some sloppy oversights in Catalina. In Podcasts, you get different remove dialogs (one macOS-like, one clearly iOS) depending where you decide to remove an episode (show view vs. a station)

See also: The Talk Show.

Update (2020-02-06): Colin Cornaby:

Mac Podcasts still has a lot of bugs. But it seems like the font rendering got better at some point. It no longer hurts my eyes to look at. Physically at least.

I'm not sure if everything is fixed though. The font below looks good. But the header font still looks super blurry for reasons that I think are deeper than the smaller size and color. I wonder if Catalyst has changed how default fonts are rendered, but not custom ones.

Opting Out of Sharing Siri Audio Recordings

Juli Clover:

Today’s iOS 13.2 beta introduces a new option that allows iPhone and iPad users to delete their Siri and Dictation history and opt out of sharing audio recordings, features that Apple promised after being called out for its Siri quality evaluation processes.

And on Catalina, Steve Troughton-Smith notes:

That’s definitely more explicit than before…


That’s an improvement, but it still says “Not now” instead of “No”

Kyle Howells:

This year Apple lost the ability to write ‘no’, instead they’ve had to replace it with ‘not now’ everywhere.

It’s their new design pattern.


Update (2019-10-14): Kaveh Vaghefi:

This is nice and all, but where is this for the HomePod, which is sitting in your home and always listening?

Update (2019-10-16): John Gruber:

In a briefing with Apple, I was told that even if you opt in to “Improve Siri & Dictation”, no one at Apple will ever review a Siri interaction until 24 hours have passed. So if you ever do say anything to Siri you don’t want reviewed, you have a full day to delete your history.

The setting and history seem to be per-device—with the Mac and HomePod versions unavailable so far.

Update (2019-11-05): Josh Centers and Adam Engst:

Apple should be ashamed of the Improve Siri & Dictation splash screen. The choices are “Share Audio Recordings” and “Not Now,” which implies that you will eventually want to share your Siri recordings—resistance is futile. Would it have killed some marketer to say “Keep Audio Recordings Private” or something similar? Plus, you can change this setting later, but Apple hides it in System Preferences > Privacy > Analytics & Improvements. And no, searching for “Siri” in System Preferences won’t find that preference pane.

Update (2019-11-06): Kyle Howells:

This is a pattern Apple uses all over the place now, and it’s so unbelievably user hostile.

It reads as being like the ‘update now or later’ messages & makes me think the choices are “give in now, or be periodically nagged until you eventually give in later’.

Update (2020-01-03): Ben Sandofsky:

At some point Apple decided it was fine to use Settings for growth hacking. First we got Apple Pay prompts, and this year we get AppleCare.

The “days remaining” adds a time constraint, because Settings should pressure you like a used car salesman.

The Human Interface Guidelines says buttons should use verbs. For example, “Continue” and “Decline.” When a salesman calls the shots you get[…]