Archive for December 20, 2021

Monday, December 20, 2021

Monterey Shows Orange Microphone Dot on Video Projectors

Peter Kirn (Hacker News):

In the interest of security and privacy, Apple on macOS Monterey has added a prominent orange dot to display outputs when audio capture is active. That renders their machines unusable for live visual performance, though, since it’s also shown on external displays.


You can disable the menu bar on external displays, via the “Displays Have Separate Spaces” display preference, but the orange dot still appears.

It seems like a bug that it appears even on displays with no menu bar.


As far as I know, the best long-term answer here is for apps that present visuals full screen to “capture” the external display for exclusive use using an API, but that’s not super common right now.


Update (2021-12-28): See also: MacRumors.

Apple’s Use of Swift and SwiftUI in iOS 15

Alexandre Colucci (tweet, Hacker News):

iOS 15 contains 114 binaries using SwiftUI, that’s almost 3 times the number from iOS 14. Likewise the number of binaries containing at least one line of Swift code has doubled between iOS 14 and iOS 15[…]


iOS 15 is composed of 4738 binaries, up from 4173 in iOS 14.


Out of all the binaries in iOS 15:

  • 89% are using Objective-C
  • 17% are using C++
  • 13% are using Swift
  • 8% are entirely written in C
  • 2% are using SwiftUI



Glenn Fleishman:

USB-C was supposed to be the last cable you would ever need. It hasn’t worked out that way.


The problem is that USB-C has become a connector for distinctly different purposes and glancing at a port or cable rarely tells you enough to know what will happen when you plug in the cable. The USB-C connector is supported (but not required) by USB 3.1 and 3.2 and required by USB 4 (and Thunderbolt 3 and 4), even though until version 4 of each specification, they were distinct standards that intertwined.

Plugging in a USB-C cable can raise all sorts of questions. Will you get the maximum speed between two devices? Will you get the wattage you need to power a computer or recharge a USB battery? Will nothing happen at all, with no clue as to why? There’s often no way to know, even if the cable’s long-ago-discarded packaging actually contained all those answers, because you have to know about the ports on both ends, too.


How could the USB-IF improve on this, particularly in cooperation with Intel’s Thunderbolt group? The labeling I mocked at the outset is actually the right direction.


Update (2022-04-19): Glenn Fleishman:

Trying to understand the modern flavors of Thunderbolt and USB? Want to know which cable to use and why you’re getting slow performance instead of gigabits per second? My new video explains it all.

lso check out my book, Take Control of Untangling Connections, a how-to and reference guide for sorting out the right ports, peripherals, cables, and standards across all mobile, laptop, and desktop hardware.

How Apple Could Improve Shortcuts

Matthew Cassinelli:

I think a significant boon for new users would be step-through debugging of what’s happening in between actions so that users can figure out what’s wrong.


Making any sort of advanced Siri shortcut means you need to use a mix of Ask For Input, Show Result, or a variety of other Scripting techniques that work one way when run from Siri and another way when not run from Siri – without in-app documentation that these even work with Siri at all.


I think this slow pace from Apple has led to slower adoption from the third-party developer community – there have not been many good examples of how to utilize the Shortcuts developer APIs from Apple’s own teams, so it’s not as clear to developers how to match them in their own apps.


I think users who are new to Shortcuts for Mac are likely missing out on the Automations feature, which simply isn’t available on the Mac – true automation capabilities are what make, well, automation tools actually useful for most people, and making the main features of the app only able to launch every shortcut manually means that new users can’t take advantage of their devices truly working for them.


One of the biggest pain points of the Shortcuts app is bugs and crashes – the app was developed outside of Apple, integrated upon acquisition, and now redesigned twice and transferred to a new programming language.

Via Jason Snell:

The big lift for Shortcuts over the next few years is to get much more support for actions in apps—starting with Apple’s. As AppleScript atrophied, the need to support user automation evaporated from the to-do lists of app developers. It will take some serious evangelism from Apple and elsewhere for app developers to make proper Shortcuts support a priority.