Archive for April 2, 2021

Friday, April 2, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Snapchat’s App Tracking Transparency Workaround

Juli Clover:

Apple has begun rejecting app updates that do not comply with the App Tracking Transparency rules that the company is enforcing starting with iOS 14.5, according to a new report from Forbes.

Apps must ask for permission to access the advertising identifier or IDFA of a user’s iPhone in order to track them across apps for ad targeting purposes, a rule that apps will need to comply with when iOS 14.5 launches. The rule also prevents apps from using other workaround methods for tracking users, which is getting some developers into trouble already.

Ben Lovejoy:

Snapchat owner Snap has tested a workaround to App Tracking Transparency using a technique that has a success rate of around 95% in identifying individual users.

Snap says that it will discontinue the tests once the new privacy rule comes into effect, but that it believes there are other steps it can take without breaking Apple’s rules…

[…]

Snap admitted to the FT that it has been running the tests, but said it would cease doing so when the App Tracking Transparency rules take effect in the next few weeks.

Previously:

Apple Arcade Adds Classic Games

Sami Fathi:

Apple today announced that its mobile gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, is gaining 30 classic games including “Fruit Ninja,” “Monument Valley,” “Solitaire,” and “Cut the Rope” as the service passes a total of 180 titles.

Previously:

The Mac Needs Shortcuts

Jason Snell:

The problem is that today, everything about user automation on Apple’s platforms is fractured. On the Mac, the technologies feel old-fashioned, adrift, and increasingly unsupported. On iOS, Shortcuts has some weaknesses and an every-app-for-itself mindset prevails. And between the two platforms there’s no connectivity at all.

[…]

As much as I like the impetus behind Automator—automation for the masses!—it died on the vine. Apps didn’t support it well, and Apple failed to provide a robust enough library of actions to make it work well on its own. If I ever thought Automator was okay, one glance at Shortcuts (or its predecessor, Workflow) would disabuse me of the notion. Still, I end up using Automator regularly because it allows me to integrate AppleScript and unix/shell scripting directly into the Finder.

[…]

It’s clear to me now: Apple needs to make Shortcuts available everywhere.

[…]

That’s a lot to ask, but since I’m on a roll, I’ll once again suggest that Apple needs to more explicitly support scripting languages on both platforms.

Previously:

“Foil” UserDefaults Property Wrapper

Jesse Squires (tweet):

UserDefaults is one of the most misused APIs on Apple platforms. Specifically, most developers do not handle default values correctly. In fact, I have never worked on a single production codebase at a company where this was done accurately. Most libraries get it wrong, too.

[…]

There are a few libraries that currently provide a property wrapper for UserDefaults. However, the ones that I know about each have a combination of the following issues: (1) default values are not registered, (2) optionals are not handled nicely, (3) the library is extremely complicated for such a simple task.

I like his approach. Mine differs in that:

Previously:

YouTube Testing Removal of Dislike Count

YouTube (via Hacker News):

In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count.

This seems like a bad idea, as dislikes were a good, quick indicator that a video might be misleading or at least controversial.

Previously:

Aho and Ullman Win Turing Award

ACM (via Hacker News, Cade Metz):

ACM named Alfred Vaino Aho and Jeffrey David Ullman recipients of the 2020 ACM A.M. Turing Award for fundamental algorithms and theory underlying programming language implementation and for synthesizing these results and those of others in their highly influential books, which educated generations of computer scientists.

[…]

“Aho and Ullman established bedrock ideas about algorithms, formal languages, compilers and databases, which were instrumental in the development of today’s programming and software landscape,” added Jeff Dean, Google Senior Fellow and SVP, Google AI. “They have also illustrated how these various disciplines are closely interconnected. Aho and Ullman introduced key technical concepts, including specific algorithms, that have been essential. In terms of computer science education, their textbooks have been the gold standard for training students, researchers, and practitioners.”

I have fond memories of Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools, which everyone called the Dragon Book.

Previously:

Long Term iPhone 12 Camera Review

Sebastiaan de With:

The only time that I found the smart image processing on the iPhone noticeably bothersome is when skies get overly tinted blue. It’s clear that the iPhone can now easily detect and segment the sky in a shot, and it applies nice smooth noise reduction to it to get wonderful gradients. But even cloudy skies tend to get a blue cast that isn’t as neutral as you’d like.

[…]

Initially, I hadn’t tested Portrait + Night mode very much. In the few tests I did, though — comparing it to a regular camera and the iPhone 12 mini, which is unequipped with a LIDAR sensor, it works outrageously well[…]

[…]

Flaring on the ultra wide and wide cameras is not just noticeable, but outright bothersome when shooting into light. In the above image, you can see the telltale iPhone ‘green orb’ flare that is a result from internal reflections in the lens. This can be fairly unobstrusive as in that shot, but when shooting many bright point sources of light head-on, can outright ruin a shot.

[…]

Noise reduction is something I never really enjoyed on iPhones, and I find it really bothersome that ProRAW does not give granular control over how much is applied to a final image. When shooting in dark conditions with the iPhone’s less light-sensitive cameras, you can get muddled images that would’ve looked nicer with some grain. It’s almost like a watercolor painting[…]

Previously: