Archive for August 3, 2020

Monday, August 3, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Google in Its Own Search Results

Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin (via Luther Lowe):

We examined more than 15,000 recent popular queries and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls “direct answers,” which are populated with information copied from other sources, sometimes without their knowledge or consent.

When we examined the top 15 percent of the page, the equivalent of the first screen on an iPhone X, that figure jumped to 63 percent.

[…]

The choice to highlight its own products has been deliberate: Internal emails unearthed by the European Commission in an antitrust investigation show Google staffers discussing the need to place its comparison-shopping product at the top of the search results to garner traffic. An email the following year noted traffic to the retooled product had more than doubled from four million to 10 million visits, and “most of this growth is from improved google.com integration.”

Previously:

Apple Style Guide on the Web

Adam Engst:

Plus, only recently did I learn that Apple makes its style guide available on the Web—previously, I had been aware only of the ebook version that you could download from Apple Books and read in the Books app.

[…]

Here’s another tricky one that we run into all the time. How do you refer to something or give instructions that work on both the iPhone and the iPad?

[…]

What about modes like airplane mode, sleep mode, and target disk mode? All lowercase, according to Apple. Dark Mode uses initial capitals, as does Low Power Mode. But then we have Power Reserve mode, in mixed case, and Target Display Mode, which Apple uses both in lowercase and with capitals but doesn’t include in the style guide.

[…]

In its December 2019 revision, Apple fell in with the rabble that prefers to lowercase “Internet,” adding it to the lowercase short form of “World Wide Web.”

The Web version is much better than the e-book and PDF, but, as with much of Apple’s documentation, it’s hard to link into it.

Previously:

20 Years Ago: the PowerMac G4 Cube

Steven Levy:

He began by emphasizing that while the Cube was powerful, it was air-cooled. (Jobs hated fans. Hated them.) He demonstrated how it didn’t have a power switch, but could sense a wave of your hand to turn on the juice. He showed me how Apple had eliminated the tray that held CDs—with the Cube, you just hovered the disk over the slot and the machine inhaled it.

[…]

The Cube violated the wisdom of his product plan. It didn’t have the power features of the high-end Power Mac, like slots or huge storage. And it was way more expensive than the low-end iMac, even before you spent for a necessary separate display required of Cube owners. Knowing I was risking his ire, I asked him: Just who was going to buy this?

[…]

But here is something else about Jobs and the Cube that speaks not of failure but why he was a successful leader. Once it was clear that his Cube was a brick, he was quick to cut his losses and move on.

John Gruber:

“Apple Puts Power Mac G4 Cube on Ice” was a deft way of acknowledging that they swung and missed with the Cube without actually acknowledging anything other than what they say in the press release. Headlines matter.

John Gruber:

Why not pull a Steve Jobs on the App Store?

Previously:

Camo 1.0

Glenn Fleishman:

The result is Reincubate’s Camo, a virtual-camera system that lets you treat the front- or rear-facing camera on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as a full-fledged video source for many Mac videoconferencing, streaming, and video-editing apps. For dozens of compatible apps, Camo appears just like any camera built-in or attached to your Mac.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with FaceTime or Safari! However, compared to competing apps, like Kinomi’s EpocCam, which has been blocked by some Mac videoconferencing services, Camo has much wider support.

[…]

Some other meeting apps, like Amazon Chime, Cisco WebEx, and Microsoft Skype and Teams; collaborative team discussion software, such as Discord and Slack; and several other packages require Camo to strip a security setting from the app. Specifically, Camo has to remove the app’s signature designed to let macOS know if the app has been modified. Once you grant your permission and enter an administrative password, Camo makes a modification in how the app handles video that allows the use of its virtual camera.

Previously:

Catalina: More Trouble Than It’s Worth

Riccardo Mori:

I am the first to wonder whether it makes sense to write yet another part of this little saga, when Catalina is basically entering its last two months of active duty. But Catalina remains, I think, one of the most (if not the most) controversial Mac OS X releases, and now that I have finally had direct experience with it on a new machine I’m using just for testing, I can confirm.

[…]

When a couple of articles from this series on Catalina reached Hacker News in the past months, a lot of quips I got as response were from people who dismissed the problem altogether with remarks along the lines of These nerds must always find something to complain/whine about. There’s nothing wrong with Catalina. Well, that’s simply not the impression I’ve had and continue to have. And not because I have 309 emails of negative feedback and horror stories to prove it, but because this volume of feedback itself is an indicator, in my private sphere, of a larger discussion that has been going on publicly (in online forums and specialised mailing lists) since Catalina was released last autumn.

I was hoping to skip directly to Big Sur, but I’ll probably have to update to Catalina soon to use the latest Xcode.

Previously:

Update (2020-08-24): TJ Luoma:

I bought a 16" MBPro in April (because WFH). It regularly-but-randomly reboots. Apple replaced the entire logic board and Touch Bar controller. Still happens. I happened to upgrade my Mac mini to Catalina - same issue happened. But at least the Mac mini could go back to Mojave.