Archive for November 8, 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019

Falling Back to an Older MBP

Erica Sadun:

The basic truth for me is that both keyboards are fully usable and that having the dedicated escape key (or not) was never a big deal. The virtual one did the job just fine. That’s something I never expected to admit but it’s true. I may not love MBP keyboards but they work.


On the other hand, moving back from USB-C to all these wonderful ports is delightful. My 2018 was always an octopus, and I had to carry around a bag of hubs and adapters.


I have a bunch of extra file space with the built-in SD card reader with my computer-flush reader adapter so it looks built in. The two standard USB ports are so convenient. I have an entire bag of USB-C gizmos that I’d carry around with the 2018 machine that I dumped into my USB box-of-everything for now.

Unlike others, she doesn’t seem to have had trouble with keyboard reliability and likes the big trackpad. She misses Touch ID but not the Touch Bar.


Update (2019-11-09): Tanner Bennett:

This mirrors how I feel. I don’t mind the Touch Bar or the miss the escape key, and my keys rarely broke, but

• I hate the low-travel keys
• I hate the new arrow key layout
• I miss ports (HDMI, USB)

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Apple’s stubborn four-year refusal to fix the terminally broken butterfly keyboard design led me to a crazy experiment last week: Giving Windows a try for the first time in twenty years.


What this experiment taught me, though, was just how much I actually like OSX. How much satisfaction I derive from its font rendering. How lovely my code looks in TextMate 2. How easy it is to live that *nix developer life, while still using a computer where everything (well, except that fucking keyboard!) mostly just works.

Update (2019-11-26): See also: Hacker News.

100,000 E-mails From iCloud

Neal Rogers (via John Gruber):

On Oct 10, the day I upgraded to OS 10.15 & iOS 13, iCloud quit working as it had for.. ever. I’ve since received @Apple email “Your Apple ID was used to sign in to iCloud via web browser” ~100,000 times. A month later, no one at @AppleSupport has been able to help me resolve it.


Swift Numerics

Steve Canon (tweet):

I’m excited to announce a new open-source project for the Swift ecosystem, Swift Numerics! Swift Numerics will provide the building blocks of numerical computing in Swift, as a set of fine-grained modules bundled together into a single Swift package. My hope is that we can quickly fill some important gaps in the Standard Library’s existing APIs, and unlock new domains of programming to the Swift language.

I’ve seeded the repository with two much-requested modules that are immediately useful for computational mathematics: Real (providing the functionality of SE-0246) and Complex (providing complex numbers and arithmetic).


The C and C++ complex math libraries attempt to make fine-grained distinctions between different zeros and infinities and NaNs. This is occasionally useful, but it means that multiplication cannot use the obvious arithmetic expression.

Swift does not attempt to make this distinction. Any complex number with zero real and imaginary parts is zero, and all complex numbers with a non-finite real or imaginary part are collapsed into a single “point at infinity”.

Looks good to me.

Firefox Making DNS-over-HTTPS the Default

Selena Deckelmann:

In 2017, Mozilla began working on the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol, and since June 2018 we’ve been running experiments in Firefox to ensure the performance and user experience are great. We’ve also been surprised and excited by the more than 70,000 users who have already chosen on their own to explicitly enable DoH in Firefox Release edition. We are close to releasing DoH in the USA, and we have a few updates to share.


In addition, Firefox already detects that parental controls are enabled in the operating system, and if they are in effect, Firefox will disable DoH. Similarly, Firefox will detect whether enterprise policies have been set on the device and will disable DoH in those circumstances. If an enterprise policy explicitly enables DoH, which we think would be awesome, we will also respect that.

Kristian Köhntopp:

Once that happens, the browser will ask Cloudflare over DNS for name resolution instead of whatever your sysadmin configures, leaking the names of all the websites you visit to Cloudflare.


It’s breaking an old contract between OS and application. The browser trying to become an OS, in a way.

It’s also implemented in a way that it is breakable by your ISP (NXDOMAIN on a certain query), so the security improvement doesn’t

Josh Centers:

Cloudflare is slowly gaining a stranglehold over the entire Internet and no one is paying attention.

Firefox: “We’re the privacy browser! Also, we collect absurd amounts of telemetry and now we’re going to route all your DNS requests through one of our partners.”

No one is challenging them on this.


The insecure DNS servers, as set in the network interface settings of your computer, allow the domain name resolution queries sent to DNS servers to be read by someone sitting in the middle such as your ISP. But with secure and encrypted DoH, nobody can know which domain names you are trying to access.

However, some security experts are not happy with Mozilla’s decision to include TRR in the web browser. They are arguing that it should not be enabled for everyone, especially the security conscious users who have configured their network to use trustworthy DNS servers (source: If you are one of those Firefox users who want to use the DNS servers configured with your network interface instead of DoH, then here is how you progress[…]


Many people appear to conflate the concepts of privacy and encryption, which are in fact very different things.

In this post I argue that in September 2019, centralised DoH “by default” is a net-negative for privacy for everyone and that even in later years it will not improve privacy outside of the most privacy hostile environments – where no one should rely on partial measures like DoH to stay secure.

See also: Hacker News.