Archive for March 10, 2020

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Saving Audion Faces

Cabel Sasser:

Apple removed resource forks/PICT support in Catalina so we’re on the absolute edge of being able to rescue Audion faces from displaying easily ever again.

Michael Buckley:

[Audion faces are] an important part of Panic’s history that has been inaccessible to modern computing devices for well over a decade. Although they were cutting-edge technology when Audion launched 21 years ago, porting them to modern Web browsers was an involved process.


Les’s converter was mostly complete. It could already open resource files, extract images and their coordinates, and convert images from the PICT image format to PNG, an image format in wide use today. However, the code needed to be updated to run on modern versions of macOS. It used a few functions which have been removed from macOS since the converter was written.


However, HTML’s <canvas> element offers very little control over text rendering, and each Web browser draws the text differently. If you used Audion back in the day, the text on the page will not look exactly like you remember.

The second problem is that many Audion faces used custom fonts, and some of these fonts have been difficult to convert for the Web. Mac Postscript fonts also stored their font data in resource forks, and although there are many tools to convert these fonts to other formats, these tools fail to convert some of these fonts correctly.

See also: Audion & On on the new Panic podcast:

How did a fierce competition with a rival lead Steven Frank and Cabel Sasser to make a life-changing decision in a meeting with one of their biggest idols… and one of their arch nemeses? Plus: community and the cascading effects of the choices we make, 23 years later.


Vanishing MacBook Pro Ports

Jason Snell:

This chart covers the era of 15-inch laptops, from the original Titanium PowerBook G4 in 2001, and also includes the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019). I chose the last top-of-the-line 15-inch laptop to be released in a given year, and no, I didn’t include any bigger or smaller laptops.

Witness the rise and fall of Apple laptop ports, which peaked at 11 with the 2003-2005 MacBook Pros and has reached an all-time low the past four years with five[…]

Jernej Virag:

My new 13" Razer laptop has both TB3 USB-C ports and USB-A ports. Hard to describe how much less annoying it is to actually connect it to things compared to a Mac.

Nick Heer:

While neither an ExpressCard or SD Card slot are ports, per se, I think the removal of those connection options is also noteworthy.

As is the removal of the optical drive.

Google’s Software-based 3D Touch

Dieter Bohn:

But there was one line on Google’s support page for the update that caught my eye (emphasis mine): “In addition to long press, you can now firmly press to get more help from your apps more quickly.”

“Firmly press” sets off alarm bells because it sounds a lot like the iPhone’s 3D Touch, which enables different actions depending on how hard you press on the touchscreen.


But now, it seems that Google has done the same thing for the touchscreen that it does with the camera: use its software algorithms to make commodity parts do something special.


Essentially, this new feature lets you press harder to bring up long-press menus faster. In fact, Google’s documentation for Android’s Deep Press API explicitly says it should never do a new thing, it should only be a faster way to execute a long press.

Via Nick Heer:

As of last year, the hardware-based version of 3D Touch no longer exists; new iPhones do not have the component that registers touch pressure, and iPads never did. It’s kind of interesting that Google decided that now was an ideal time to replicate in software the ability to detect pressure — something which, as far as I can figure out, iOS does not do.


Let’s Encrypt Vulnerability

Jim Salter (via Bruce Schneier):

On Leap Day, Let’s Encrypt announced that it had discovered a bug in its CAA (Certification Authority Authorization) code.

The bug opens up a window of time in which a certificate might be issued even if a CAA record in that domain’s DNS should prohibit it. As a result, Let’s Encrypt is erring on the side of security and safety rather than convenience and revoking any currently issued certificates it can’t be certain are legitimate[…]

See also: Let’s Encrypt.