Archive for November 6, 2020

Friday, November 6, 2020

HP Reneges on Free Instant Ink

Cory Doctorow (via Hacker News):

What they didn’t know was that they’ve been given an asymptomatic infection – a malicious update that only kicked in five months later, after everyone had had a good long time to update. That update’s real purpose was to detect and reject third party ink.


Every time HP got caught doing something evil, they had the same excuse: “that’s the deal we offered and you accepted it.”


Enter HP Instant Ink.

This is “ink as a service.” You pre-commit to printing a certain number of pages/month and they mail you ink, which they own. You’re not buying the ink, you’re buying the right to use it.


This is a weird and unpalatable idea, so to sell it, HP rolled out a pay-on-price “Free Ink for Life” plan that gave you 15 pages every month for as long as you owned your printer.

Instant Ink, as an option, isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but unfortunately HP is no longer honoring the deal. Starting in December, the free pages will cost $0.99/month.


iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Chaim Gartenberg:

And that smaller size is really nice to hold. iOS scales well to the 5.4-inch display, and the iPhone 12 design looks and feels just as nice on the slightly more compact version as it does on the full-sized model. If you liked the size of the the old 5 / 5S / SE, though, the 12 mini feels like the closest Apple has come to that style of device in a long time.

It’s honestly a bit weird to hold at first, especially if you’re coming from a big phone. Some things do take a bit of an adjustment, like typing — but other parts of using an iPhone, like swiping down from the top of the display for notifications or the control center, are easier than they’ve been in years. But for the first time since arguably the iPhone 8, Apple has made a flagship phone that nearly anyone should be able to comfortably use and hold in one hand.

I ordered the mini in blue, which I hope I don’t regret. In some photos the color looks great, in others not so much.

Nick Heer:

It is still bigger than the 5-series hardware, but appears to be noticeably smaller than the 4.7-inch form factor that was introduced with the iPhone 6. That seems to be pretty close to a sweet spot.


On paper, if you just want an iPhone, you should just buy the Mini and get a little more storage. If you really care about camera features, you should probably buy the Pro Max, even though it is the size of an aircraft carrier. The 6.1-inch models seem to only be for people who wanted to get an iPhone 12 earlier, want a little more battery life than the Mini, or really care about the telephoto lens.


Update (2020-11-27): See also:

Update (2021-01-05): Jason Snell:

It finally happened. I picked up a regular iPhone 12 the other day and recoiled at how large it was. My month-long inculcation into the cult of the iPhone 12 mini had done its job. I had learned to love little brother.

Juli Clover:

Apple’s 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, which is the smallest iPhone that has been released since the 2016 iPhone SE, may not be selling as well as Apple hoped. According to new sales numbers from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the iPhone 12 mini accounted for a lower number of sales than other iPhone 12 models that Apple offers.

I hope they keep making the smaller size.

Update (2021-01-12): Simone Manganelli:

Back in early November, a few days before the iPhone 12 mini (here-to-fore referred to as simply the “iPhone mini”) was available to order, Apple updated a support document, indicating that when charging via MagSafe (an annoying re-use of a previous term for a completely unrelated feature), the iPhone mini only charges at 12 W, despite the ability of other iPhone 12 models to charge at up to 15 W using the same MagSafe charger.

Well it got me wondering… maybe the limitation is not with wireless charging, but with charging the iPhone mini in general. Can you ever charge the iPhone mini with more than 12 W? The answer appears to be no, even with wired charging.


Slow Swift Compilation of Boolean Comparisons


Since we moved parts of our codebase to swift, our compile times have effectively quadrupled. Trying to combat this, we’ve used the function and expression debug time flags to figure out if there’s something to be saved by simplifying expressions.

Via Nick Lockwood:

TIL writing

if foo == false {}

Compiles dramatically more slowly in Swift than:

if !foo {}


There are multiple instances of boolean comparisons being slow in our project. I can easily cut our overall compilation time by 10s by getting rid of explicit comparisons unfortunately

Xiaodi Wu:

In fact, it does not know that both sides are of type Bool, because == can be implemented to compare heterogeneous types and false can be any type that’s expressible by a Boolean literal. Therefore, it has to figure out every possible combination of implementations of == and types conforming to ExpressibleByBooleanLiteral that is available for use here to see if it’s a better match.


For numeric types specifically, there is a hardcoded compiler shortcut to make compile times tolerable until a general solution is discovered. No such optimization is hardcoded for Boolean values because it’s not idiomatic to write == true and == false.


Update (2020-11-25): Keith Harrison:

Before you jump to conclusions and blame the Swift compiler for slow build times it’s worth getting a summary of the whole build process. Xcode 10 added a build timing summary.


There are a couple of compiler flags you can enable to get some extra information when the compiler is slowing down[…]


There’s a good WWDC 2018 Session on speeding up your Xcode builds.