Archive for August 3, 2021

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Brief Reviews of (Nearly) Every Mac Keyboard

Griffin Jones (via John Gruber):

The Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard is first to include a power button, the Snow White design and the ADB port, three welcome additions. The lower key travel makes sustained typing a little easier. The mechanism has a very cleanly defined click, although it feels more brittle than premium. I rate it 4⁄5 stars.

This was a terrific keyboard that I first used with an Apple IIGS. It arguably feels better than the Apple Extended Keyboard II, but it’s missing the page navigation keys and function keys, and it had the arrow keys arranged in a line. So I ended up using the latter with my Macs, even into the USB era.

The AppleDesign Keyboard is a cheap cost-cutting imitation of the Extended Keyboard. It doesn’t even have an embedded Apple logo, just its silhouette punched into the mold of plastic. The symbolism that Apple was only a shadow of its former self in the mid-90s could not be any clearer. I rate it 2⁄5 stars.

This one just felt bad. The keys sprung up slowly like it was sticky inside, and they didn’t click enough when pressed down.

From 2007 to 2016, this [Aluminum Keyboard] keyboard design reigned supreme across all Macs. The flat black keycaps are more attractive and higher contrast, for sure, but at the expense of usability. I rate it 4⁄5 stars.

This is what I’ve been using since encountering Bluetooth flakiness with the wireless version and macOS 10.12, along with missed keystrokes when logging in even on later releases. (These problems seem to affect all Bluetooth keyboards, not just Apple’s.) I’m not sure why he says it has black keycaps. I still like this keyboard. The only flaw has been that the letters completely wear off.

For notebook keyboards, I still think the generation before the butterfly (e.g. on the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro) was better than the post-butterfly scissor design (e.g. on the 2019 MacBook Pro).


iOS 15 Find My

Juli Clover:

When you track a friend or a family member using the Find My app, it now shows continuous streaming updates on their location rather than updating with a new location every few minutes.


Devices that have been turned off can still be tracked by the Find My network in iOS 15.


If someone steals your iPhone and then erases it, in iOS 15, it’s still going to show up in the Find My app, and it will be trackable even after it’s been wiped.


With Separation Alerts, the Find My app can let you know if an iPhone or iPad is left behind by alerting you on one of the other devices with you.


AirPods have always shown up in the Find My app, but until now, functionality has been limited.


There’s now a Find My widget that you can add to the Home screen or the Today View to track items at a glance without having to open up the Find My app.

I’ve missed having the widget on my Mac since it was removed a few versions ago.


Automating Test Retries

Akshat Patel:

Once we had a list of the flaky tests, we tried to go through each one and determine why they were failing. We found that some UI elements such as menus and popovers were particularly prone to flakiness — they would sometimes be dismissed by the system for no discernable reason!


Since we already had the JUnit parsing code, we decided to build on top of that and rerun only the failed tests. By using the xcodebuild command’s -only-testing flag, we ran only the failed tests again. Another optimization we made was to build the project only once, even when testing multiple times. We accomplished that by using the xcodebuild build-for-testing and xcodebuild test-without-building commands.


Flaky tests still exist, but they no longer slow down the workflow of our developers. CI automatically retries any failing tests, and almost all flaky tests pass when run again. If a test actually fails three times in a row, only then it is considered an actual failure and the build is marked as failed.

Xcode 13 has a built-in option to do this. But why are these tests flaky?