Archive for December 27, 2019

Friday, December 27, 2019

Dropbox No Longer Follows External Symlinks


As of mid-2019, Dropbox no longer follows items outside of your Dropbox account that are linked to by a symlink.

You can have symlinks that link to items both in and outside of your Dropbox account; however, these two types of symlinks sync differently.

  • If you create a symlink that links to an item in your Dropbox account, we’ll sync the the symlink file at its location and the item that it links to at its location respectively
  • If you create a symlink that links to an item outside of your Dropbox account, when you sign in to you’ll only see the symlink file but not the content it links to

Too bad, as I had considered symlink support one of the advantages of Dropbox over iCloud Drive. It made it possible to store things in Dropbox yet have them actually reside at other locations in the file system. And I could use Git to manage the contents of a folder that syncs, without having to put the .git folder in Dropbox.

The timing of this is not clear to me, though. The article says “as of mid-2019,” which we have certainly passed. Yet, as of now, it seems to still be following symlinks, and the report it generated for me lists the symlinks that “will” stop syncing.

Remote Work Hygiene

Moodthy Alghorairi (via Ryan Jones):

I’ve split up the various tricks and tips I’ve come to rely on into 3 categories:

  1. Work Habits: habits around work I start and end my day with.
  2. Work Practices: specific ways and methods of working.
  3. Environmental Practices: things I take care of in the environment to support focus and life balance.

Good advice.

See also:


BlueMail Rejected From the Mac App Store

Julian Chokkattu (Hacker News):

A few days later, still reeling from the shock of seeing the technology they patented announced on the world stage, the Volach brothers’ email app, BlueMail, was removed from the Mac App Store. Coincidence? They don’t think so.


Last year, the app was found to be sending users’ passwords to the developers, but the company issued an update that reportedly rectified the issue and claims it doesn’t store emails or passwords on its servers.


In this resubmission, the team asked Apple to “elaborate on which apps you find similar, so we can look into it and take action if required.” Yet BlueMail was rejected again, with Apple citing the app duplicated content available on the App Store. After asking again for more clarity, a few days later Apple finally said BlueMail is duplicating TypeApp.

“BlueMail and TypeApp were never duplicate applications—but they certainly could not be “duplicates” on June 4, 2019, that were “currently available on the App Store” when TypeApp for Mac had already been voluntarily removed weeks earlier,” according to the lawsuit.

No matter how you look at this, it’s odd that both apps are approved for the iOS App Store but not the Mac App Store. How did they get a patent for an e-mail relay? And why haven’t they made a Developer ID version of the app?

Ben Volach:

This isn’t our first time facing unfair practices as a developer for Apple devices. Our iPhone app was unfairly ranked until The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and others exposed how the App Store manipulated search results. Overnight, its ranking went from #143 to #13.


The iPad’s Identity Crisis

Emily Lipstein:

Apple is pushing the iPad at people like me, people who have an iPhone, likely have AirPods, and are looking for a device that they can use at home when their only real computer is what they’re given at work. We’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, and have been for years, and here’s another opportunity to stay in it without paying too much of a premium. That’s the idea at least.


So from the second you sync your brand new device with your iCloud login, you’re left confused about why Apple’s replicating your phone on something bigger and with a keyboard. There should at least be an option to opt-out of getting all of the apps to immediately start downloading to the device.


Obviously Google wants you to be using Chrome OS. But even so, you want a Google Docs app on the iPad that’s a full-fledged replica of what you have in-browser on desktop. But that’s not what you get, neither here nor in the Gmail app either.


The attachable Smart Keyboard mostly gets the job done, but its flimsiness makes it nearly impossible for me to actually use it on my lap on the couch[…] It also tends to tip over when it’s not on a flat surface[…]


Update (2019-12-30): AAPL of Discord:

SJ introduced iPad as a new category of device. Now TC seems to be wedging it in as a PC replacement, ignoring the input conventions that define it as anything but. It will remain awkward under this new strategy.

Pata Ling:

While Apple is struggling to make the iPad a computer-substitute, there is no effort to make it a phone-substitute. A cellular iPad mini, especially if paired with an Apple Watch, would be my main mobile device if I still didn’t have to tether to an iPhone for full phone features