Archive for May 28, 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Shrugs 1.0

Helge Heß (tweet):

ZeeZide GmbH is happy to announce the release of, a native macOS Slack client[…]


Shrugs complements the capable official Slack client by providing deep integration with the macOS system: Multiple windows, trackpad gestures, or iPhone & iPod integration using Apple’s Continuity.

Helge Heß:

Apart from a weak IRC gateway that eventually got killed, it unfortunately didn’t (and still doesn’t) use any standard protocols. However, it turned out that Slack quite likely has one of the world’s best documented JSON based HTTP API’s: And part of the official API are user tokens, a.k.a. tokens to act on behalf of the user.


End of August the authentication flow worked really well. Including the API token gateway, a small SwiftNIO (MicroExpress) server running in the cloud. This server component is required to avoid having to embed the Slack API credentials in the app (from which they would be easy to extract).


Camo Beta

Reincubate (tweet, via Joe Cieplinski):

Want to look your best on video calls? The camera on your iPhone or iPad is leagues ahead of any webcam on the market, and Camo makes it easy to use your iPhone as a webcam.

iPhone cameras are getting better whilst webcams get worse. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the 2020 MacBook Air’s camera is worse than the 2010 model. Even the new MacBook Pro only does 720p, which even YouTube doesn’t consider “HD”.

Great idea. I expect it to get Sherlocked soon.

See also: Pretty Much All Laptop Webcams Suck, Laptop Webcams Are Kind of Terrible.


iPhone vs. Pixel Dictation

James Cham:

I don’t think that people appreciate how different the voice to text experience on a Pixel is from an iPhone. So here is a little head to head example. The Pixel is so responsive it feels like it is reading my mind!

Speed has its own quality—the current model for speech is like a command line. You say something and wait for a response. Now that voice to text is fast and uses fewer resources than you would think, there’s a chance for truly interactive voice experiences.

Also look at the latency when asking Siri to pause or adjust the volume of the audio that’s playing.

John Gruber:

What really sticks out about this is that in so many regards, Apple’s accessibility features are both awesome and far ahead of everyone else. Yet voice-to-text transcription is an obvious accessibility feature, and on this front Apple is and long has been woefully behind. If Apple’s voice-to-text transcription were good, it wouldn’t just improve the ways we use (or try to use) it now — truly good voice-to-text would enable all sorts of new Star Trek-level interactions while editing text. Quick fixes in Messages, Mail, or wherever you happen to be typing.

Dave Mark:

So I turned on Airplane Mode and the iPhone [STT] is every bit as fast as the Android [STT].

Turn Airplane Mode off, lag returns. Try it yourself!!

Not at all sure why this lag is necessary.

Kirk McElhearn:

I’ve seen that too. I think it does more processing / checking when you have internet access. I find it more accurate when it does have internet access, in fact.


Mac App Store Review Prompting Bug

Steve Troughton-Smith:

When macOS bugs, completely out of developer control, translate into bad reviews 😭 Anybody on the StoreKit team know why SKStoreReviewController can get stuck in a loop on macOS Catalina and keep presenting incessant ratings dialogs even when the app is not running?

The irony is that the whole point of this API was to prevent third-party code from prompting the user too often.

Will Cosgrove:

Virtually all the bad Transmit reviews are due to this bug. We’ve been trying to get it fixed for years.

Xavi Moll:

I also got a 1 star rating this morning due to that bug


FileMaker 19

Ric Ford (also: MacRumors):

Claris FileMaker Pro 19 was announced today, the latest step in Apple’s many transformations of database management software originally acquired many years ago from Nashoba Systems. Apple now licenses the software almost entirely on a subscription basis under a subsidiary it calls “Claris”, recycling a name from an earlier era with entirely different products.


A FileMaker Pro “individual” (non-cloud) license option has been marginalized but remains available at $540.