Archive for December 15, 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Shutting Down the Goodreads API

Stephanie Wilkinson:

In 2013, Amazon bought Goodreads. Many in the reader community were worried about what Amazon would do with its new acquisition, but they retained the status quo for a while. Until now, apparently.

They’ve given notice that they will shut down their APIs, effectively shutting down outside interaction with Goodreads data. In addition, the developer terms and conditions don’t allow storing of any Goodreads data, so users won’t be able to pull their data from Goodreads for use in other arenas.

Via Nick Heer:

Seems pretty bold for Amazon, which owns Goodreads, to further silo user data as it is being investigated for criminal antitrust violations.

Eric Engstrom, RIP

Dean Takahashi (via Hacker News):

Eric Engstrom passed away this week, leaving friends in mourning for one of the renegades of the Microsoft empire and a brilliant tech innovator.

Engstrom was known as part of the “Beastie Boys,” a trio of evangelists who paved the way for Microsoft’s expansion in games in the late 1990s and early 2000s with DirectX. The expansion eventually enabled Microsoft to launch the Xbox (X signified DirectX) video game console — an enterprise that generated billions of dollars for Microsoft and made it a major player in the game industry.

Update (2021-01-01): Edge (via Hacker News):

Edge magazine investigates the dramatic origins of the original Xbox and how an internal team ‘hoodwinked’ Bill Gates into launching Microsoft’s first console.

Dismissing Big Sur Notifications

Tyler Hall:

An example of unhelpful alerts that you didn’t opt-in to and can’t opt-out of are hot marketing garbage like this.


But I digress. Helpful or spam-like, the UX problem is dismissing them.


Because, in almost all instances of an alert appearing, I want to know about it, but way less frequently do I want to open the entire app behind it.


For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a 22pt x 22pt target out of the banner’s total 346pt x 78pt. Or 1.8% of the total size.


If you move your mouse towards the notification intending to dismiss it, the clickable area (without backtracking your mouse) is this even smaller green part.

I usually want to mark a Messages notification as read (which takes multiple clicks) or dismiss a notification from another app (which has a small click target). The big click target is for opening the app, which is rarely what I want.

Nick Heer:

Notifications remain a system feature that, at least on Apple’s platforms, asks a lot from users for such simple benefit. On iOS and MacOS, it is too easy to be zipped into a different app, especially if you are trying to dismiss the notification instead.


Update (2020-12-16): Marco Arment:

Big Sur’s notifications are Big Sur’s butterfly keyboard.

(see also: hiding all actions under the “Options” button, and the inexplicable and extremely frustrating loss of multiple Snooze durations in Calendar notifications)

Update (2021-01-01): Dave Mark:

Big Sur brings a frustrating interface change to notifications. This post documents the change in great detail. It’s all about the process of dismissing a notification, which is much harder than it used to be, both in terms of fine motor control requirements and low discoverability.

Update (2021-06-13): Riccardo Mori:

In Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra (and presumably in Mojave and Catalina), Notifications not only have better buttons and UI than in Big Sur, they’re also smarter. When that app has finished updating, the notification will automatically go away. In Big Sur, it stays there.

Brave Rewards Not Allowed in App Store

Brave Software (tweet, via Tim Sweeney, Hacker News, MacRumors):

Today Brave is releasing a new version (1.22) of its iOS browser in order to comply with recent stipulations made by Apple. In a nutshell, Brave users on iPhones and iPads will no longer be able to earn rewards for their attention, and will no longer be able to tip their favorite online creators via Brave. These changes to our Brave Rewards system do not apply to our desktop and Android browsers.

Around the iOS 14 release, Apple raised some concerns about our iOS app and deemed that Brave Rewards was not compliant with their guidelines 3.1.1 and 3.2.2, and required immediate remedies. Brave Rewards is built on the Basic Attention Token (BAT) and is a new way to value attention, connecting users, content creators, and advertisers. Users are rewarded in BAT with 70% of the ad revenue share of the privacy-preserving ads they opt into viewing, and they can support content creators they love by rewarding them with BAT. There are currently over 985,000 Brave verified content creators.

Apple’s guideline 3.1.1 prevents apps from allowing users to give to, or tip a person, company, or service — unless what is given is purchased via an Apple in-app purchase. Brave users who had opted into our Brave Rewards system could give their BAT to a verified creator and support their content via a feature we call Tipping, but going forward this won’t be possible on iOS.

It’s not clear to me why this was allowed before but now isn’t. I don’t think the “tasks for cash” rule applies here.