Archive for January 4, 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Google Workers Announce Plans to Unionize

Zoe Schiffer (Hacker News):

A group of Google workers have announced plans to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The Alphabet Workers Union will be open to all employees and contractors at Google’s parent company. Its goal will be to tackle ongoing issues like pay disparity, retaliation, and controversial government contracts.


Arranged as a members-only union, the new organization won’t seek collective bargaining rights to negotiate a new contract with the company. Instead, the Alphabet Workers Union will only represent employees who voluntarily join, as reported by the New York Times. That structure will also allow it to represent all employees who seek to participate — including temps, vendors, and contractors (known internally as TVCs) who would be excluded by labor law from conventional collective bargaining.


Project Monarch

Zac Bowden:

Project Monarch is the end-goal for Microsoft’s “One Outlook” vision, which aims to build a single Outlook client that works across PC, Mac, and the Web. Right now, Microsoft has a number of different Outlook clients for desktop, including Outlook Web, Outlook (Win32) for Windows, Outlook for Mac, and Mail & Calendar on Windows 10.

Microsoft wants to replace the existing desktop clients with one app built with web technologies. The project will deliver Outlook as a single product, with the same user experience and codebase whether that be on Windows or Mac.

Via Steve Troughton-Smith:

Sad to see Microsoft consciously eroding its native platforms, drawn to the idea of a local ecosystem full of web apps like a moth to a flame.


Update (2021-01-05): John Gruber:

I have no idea how big the “footprint” is for the current Mac Outlook app, but if it’s based on Electron how could the footprint not be enormous? “Hello World” in Electron is huge.

Version 16.44 of Mac Outlook is 1.98 GB. The Electron version would only be a fat binary for the non-JavaScript portions, and it would likely remove lots of features and code, so it certainly could be slimmer despite using Electron.

See also: MacRumors.

Update (2021-01-06): Colin Cornaby:

The Electron runtime is about 1.2 gigs alone combining the Intel and ARM versions. It’s so large that Electron apps aren’t distributed as universal so far.

Hard to see how it gets slimmer on Mac.

Microsoft’s plan on Windows is to build these things against the version of Chromium now built into Windows (via Edge.) So things might get slimmer. On Windows.

Nick Heer:

Some reports have interpreted this as though Microsoft will discard the Mac app redesign it previewed in September. I am not sure that is the case. The new version of Outlook for Mac looks an awful lot like an Electron app already.

Like most web apps in a native wrapper, this sounds like a stopgap way of easing cross-platform development at the cost of usability, quality, speed, and platform integration. To be fair, I am not sure that anyone would pitch today’s desktop Outlook apps as shining examples of quality or speed, but I spend a lot of time from Monday through Friday in the Outlook web app and it is poor.

Zoom Rooms Weekly Restart

Zoom (via Rogue Amoeba):

Zoom Rooms weekly system restart functionality will restart your computer weekly with the following conditions[…] By default, the Zoom Rooms computer will restart on Saturday, but you can also select a day for the restart.

The alert says this is for “best system performance.”

Dan Kuehling:

Only on their Zoom Room app for dedicated Zoom powered conference rooms. It doesn’t happen on the regular Zoom app.

Marc Edwards:

I have so, so many questions about this alert and the entire process that led to it.

Matt Gallagher:

During the Big Sur betas, Zoom caused WindowServer to leak memory – about 1GB per hour. I was restarting every few days. My guess is there’s a similar Apple bug they’re working around.

And apparently a Windows one, too, since the feature is also available in that version of the app.


Update (2021-01-27): Peter Steinberger:

People are mocking Zoom for having an automated restart feature. I’m currently building exactly that for our CI.

The M1 Mac mini needs daily reboots so it doesn’t randomly fail to start the iOS Simulator. Something leaks here.