Archive for September 14, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

Lectures on Digital Photography

Nilay Patel:

Did you know Pixel camera creator Marc Levoy’s entire Stanford lecture series on digital photography is on YouTube? It’s on YouTube.

Auto White Balance vs. Fiery Skies

Ian Bogost:

Certain photographs and videos of the surreal, orange sky seemed to wash it out, as if to erase the danger. “I didn’t filter these,” tweeted the journalist Sarah Frier, posting photos she took of San Francisco’s haunting morning sky. “In fact the iPhone color corrected the sky to make it look less scary. Imagine more orange.” The photos looked vaguely marigold in hue, but not too different from a misty sunrise in a city prone to fog. In some cases, the scene seemed to revert to a neutral gray, as if the smartphones that captured the pictures were engaged in a conspiracy to silence this latest cataclysm.

Via John Gruber:

This is not a bug, but a side effect of the built-in Camera app on iOS (and likewise on most Android phones) being decidedly consumer-focused. Setting a manual white balance point is a feature in any “pro” camera app worth its salt.

Google Ad Numbers Don’t Add Up

Mike Zornek:

I paid Google for 222 clicks but can only reconcile 77 of them. I asked for delivery to United States only and they did not seem to honor that. Turned off the ad campaign for now.

I’ve turned off almost all of my Google ads because the numbers don’t make any sense. Most keywords require ridiculously high bids even though test searches show that they aren’t actually being bid up. Google’s technical support was no help.


Big Fish Casino

Cyrus Farivar (tweet):

The app offers a variety of typical casino games to play, including their favorite, called Reel Rivals, a game in which players accrue points by playing a virtual slot machine. As in a real casino, players exchange money for coins to bet.

Unlike in a real casino, there is no way to win money back or earn a payout on coins.

But that has not stopped Shellz and her husband from spending about $150,000 in the game in just two years.


According to data provided by Apptopia, an app analytics company, Big Fish Games took in an estimated $139.3 million from Big Fish Casino and Jackpot Magic players from February 2019 through July 2020.

I’m not saying that games like this should be banned from the App Store, as I think users should be able to install what they want on their devices. It doesn’t seem like they are being deceptive.

But something seems out of whack when you look at the totality of apps that are allowed vs. rejected. Casino game apps where it’s impossible to win are OK, and Apple gets 30%. But users must be protected from streaming games and direct payment.

And regular apps get rejected for the oddest reasons. Paul Haddad:

Pastebot needs to generate a ⌘v keystroke in order to paste. When generating this keystroke on >= 10.14 an Accessibility permissions alert is shown by the OS.

Apple rejected our app because of this.

In order to get around the App Store we had to offer (and users had to install) a separate Paste service that shipped outside the App Store. The service would do nothing other than generate the ⌘v and would show the same alert on first use.

Is that really better for the user? Who knows what rule this violated or why it was eventually approved two years later.

And for not adhering to vague and changing guidelines that Apple itself doesn’t follow. Joe Cieplinski:

Got rejected today for the button on this screen.

So I’ll be sending them a screenshot of this button in response.

Won’t make a difference. But I just can’t help being sassy every now and then.

Cabel Sasser:

Oh hey us too 🥴

Timothy Buck:

This stuff is really killing the Apple brand for me. If they believe these rules are helping keep consumers safe, why are they skirting their own rules instead of leading the way in transparency?


Update (2023-11-22): See also: Hacker News.