Archive for February 26, 2020

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

What You See in the Finder Should Always Be Correct

John Gruber (tweet):

I know from talking to Arment privately that about 30 seconds after he took the screenshot, the Inspector updated to show the actual folder size. But that’s still very wrong. The Finder should never show inaccurate information regarding the state of the file system. Never.

This is the sort of problem in recent versions of MacOS that clearly isn’t getting enough attention within Apple. John Moltz and I discussed this on yesterday’s episode of my podcast, and Moltz mentioned a similar problem I’ve seen too: you put some large files in the Trash, then empty the Trash, and the available space shown in Finder windows (View → Show Status Bar) doesn’t change at all for an indeterminate amount of time.

Remember how Windows had a Refresh command, but Macs didn’t need one?

The free space issue dates to at least High Sierra. And, starting with Mojave, I’ve been having all sorts of problems with Finder showing stale information: incorrect metadata, continuing to show files that were already deleted, and failing to show new files. Sometimes I can click on a file or folder to refresh the display. Other times, it gets stuck showing hours-old filesystem state, and I reboot.

Jeff Johnson:

Unpopular opinion: APFS is a disaster on the Mac

1) Almost impossible to get accurate free space on a disk
2) Super fast HFS FSCatalogSearch file system search is gone
3) Bizarre long delays in moving files to the Trash

I think “disaster” is going too far, and there have been benefits. But it’s true that some basic stuff just doesn’t work as well since the switch to APFS.

Maxwell Swadling:

Free space is my big missing feature. You can’t copy a file to an APFS partition that is bigger than true free space but smaller than available space. I have to use an external drive to work with final cut / large videos

Tom Harrington:

When my Mac tells me I can’t download a new Xcode because there isn’t enough room, but then Finder says there’s like 10x more space than I need, something is not working right.

John Gruber:

Someone said that going to System Information: Storage Management triggers something that updates available free space everywhere, including Finder and Disk Utility. I’ll try that the next time I think the numbers are wrong, but of course this should happen automatically.


Update (2020-02-28): Adam Maxwell:

I regularly take a screenshot and can’t find it on my Desktop, but it shows up in Finder’s list or column view. I never associated it with AFPS, but it’s definitely a recent problem for me (on High Sierra). In the old days I’d have filed a bug report. Now? Work around.

Kyle Howells:

The latest issue: trying to put a 4GB file on my iPad.

iOS: Error: Not enough free space.
Ok how much space is free?
iOS: 451/512GB free
Me: ?!?!???
Tries via an app & network share. App: Error not enough space

So my device really is full, but REALLY doesn’t want to show me.

I plugged into a Windows PC running iTunes desktop app, open it and.... photos is using all the space, but because it theoretically could purge it if needed doesn’t count as used. Except that is if you actually try and use that ‘free’ space.


A week or so ago my Mac did the same thing.

I was downloading some large files and started getting ‘free space low’ warnings. Looked at Finder, and 60-ish GB free, nothing to worry about.

Then more warnings and finally new file creation failed with ‘no space available’.

Update (2020-03-27): Gus Mueller:

Kind of getting tired of having to reboot my mac after emptying the trash, in order to see my disk space come back. At least HFS mostly got that part right.

Tom Harrington:

It leads to weird and confusing states. Like, Finder says I have plenty of space but un-xipping Xcode fails due to lack of space. There’s a lot of purgeable data, but it doesn’t get purged. If it were purged, there’d be plenty available.

Pythonista 3.3 Includes a Keyboard Extension

Ole Zorn (tweet):

First off, this is not intended to replace the system keyboard or your preferred third-party keyboard for most of your typing. It’s much more like the emoji picker, i.e. you’d typically switch to it just for specific tasks.


You can use the keyboard for simple things, like quickly inserting the current date/time in your favorite format, or even show a custom UI, like a calculator, in the keyboard view (or above a standard QWERTY keyboard).


The keyboard module includes keyboard-specific functionality for inserting text, modifying the cursor position, showing user interfaces in the keyboard, and more.

With no global menus or keyboard shortcuts, keyboard extensions and Siri are the ways to add functionality to an app on iOS.


Update (2020-02-28): Tony Meyer:

New Pythonista custom keyboard gives me a repl in the keyboard, even in Textastic!

And I can add practically any script as a new keyboard button. Tempted to use a third-party keyboard for the first time ever.

Update (2020-03-12): Dr. Drang:

Because only modules written entirely in Python can be installed by the user, the number of non-native libraries that come with an iOS Python app determines how broadly useful the app can be. That’s why, despite its many flaws, I have hopes for Pyto and don’t regret buying it. Giving me the ability to write the kinds of scripts I need to for work covers up a lot of shortcomings.

And seeing Pythonista back in development again has made me cautiously optimistic about it again. The developer clearly knows he needs to get on the Shortcuts bandwagon if he wants his app to be a significant player in the iOS automation world again. I think a lot of ground has been lost to Scriptable.

My dream would be for these two apps get into a competition with each other. If that happened, I might be able to put off learning JavaScript for another decade.


John Gruber:

ShortcutDetective, a free utility from Irradiated Software, is designed specifically to track down which app is receiving a shortcut. Just run the app (after granting it Accessibility permissions), type the shortcut, and in most cases ShortcutDetective will tell you which app is receiving it. Saved me a lot of troubleshooting effort today.

The app is available here.

Google Sent Private Videos in Google Photos to Strangers

Abner Li (via Hacker News):

Google this evening began alerting Takeout users about the “technical issue.” From November 21-25, 2019, those that requested backups could have had videos in Google Photos “incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.”

In requesting a backup, some of your videos — but not pictures — might be visible to random users that were also downloading their data through Google Takeout. The company did not specify what media was affected beyond “one or more videos in your Google Photos account was affected by this issue.”


Another implication is that the Google Photos archive you downloaded during that five-day period is incomplete and missing some of your videos, while strangers’ media might be present.

Tom Warren:

Google’s nonchalant email alerting users doesn’t provide any details on how many people were affected, nor the amount of individual videos that were distributed incorrectly per account. Google fixed the issue after five days, and 9to5Google reports that less than 0.01 percent of Google Photos users who used Takeout were affected. Google Photos has over 1 billion users, so even a small percentage will impact a significant number of people. Google has apologized “for any inconvenience this may have caused.”


The usual argument for using “cloud” over managing your own files/data is that it’s very hard to safely manage your own data without making mistakes (data loss, etc). However, this is an example of how companies like Google also make mistakes. Furthermore, when Google/FB makes a mistake (like leaking your private data) they do it at a global scale.

I offboarded myself from all of Google’s services a while ago, but I also think “cloud” is dead, at least in the cases where the cloud service holds the encryption keys on my behalf. I don’t trust, and never will trust, any company to hold on to my data without either selling it to a third party or accidentally leaking it.

Recording All the Melodies

Jason Kottke:

In this recent TED Talk, lawyer, musician, and technologist Damien Riehl talks about the rapidly diminishing number of melodies available to songwriters under the current system of copyright. In order to help songwriters avoid these melodic legal landmines (some of which are documented here), Riehl and his pal Noah Rubin designed and wrote a program to record every possible 8-note, 12-beat melody and released the results — all 68+ billion melodies, 2.6 terabytes of data — into the public domain.