Archive for April 4, 2022

Monday, April 4, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Edge Cases When Dealing With Music

Julien Voisin:

Weird album names

[…]

Some tracks don’t have a title

[…]

Tracks can have multiple artists

[…]

Some bands are kinda changing their name

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Some albums are known under several names

[…]

Different bands may have the same name

Via Sören:

This fits in nicely with @siracusa’s recent discussion (on @atpfm) on a data model for music.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Previously:

Update (2022-04-13): Nick Heer:

Voisin’s list is extensive, but let me add a few entries

Searching in Open/Save Panels

Zach Waugh:

I just discovered you can hit / in any macOS save dialog to open a Spotlight-esque quick folder search and even use things like ~ to jump to your home folder. No clue when that was added, but a handy shortcut instead of manually navigating a deep folder hierarchy

This seems to be a new way of invoking the old Go to Folder command, which still works via Command-Shift-G. The folder picker matches Finder’s Go to Folder, which was redone in Monterey.

Previously, it only let you enter paths (with autocompletion). But now it also shows a list of recent folders, and you can also search by name. Neither of these new features works very well for me. The recent list does not include most of the folders that I’ve recently chosen. And searching behaves like the longstanding open/save panel search field: sometimes it works, but sometimes it takes a long time to find no results.

The main way that I navigate these panels is via keyboard shortcuts, which also match Finder’s:

And then I can drill down using the keyboard to select the right folder at each level.

For common folders that take longer to navigate to, I find them with LaunchBar and then drag and drop onto the panel.

I used to use a lot of Finder favorite/sidebar folders, which show up in the panel’s source list, but macOS 11 and later keep losing all my favorites, and so I gave up on restoring them each time. (I’ve stopped using widgets for the same reason.) Also, a few versions back, macOS stopped remembering the width of the open/save panel sidebar, and so it is hard to tell some of the longer folder names apart without resizing it every time.

Previously:

triald

Howard Oakley (Hacker News):

Over the last year or so Mac users have run into problems that appear related to a background service named triald. Some report it stealing huge amounts of CPU, others associate it with various glitches, and a few have noticed gigabytes of disk space apparently being taken up by its folder at ~/Library/Trial, and in their Time Machine backups.

[…]

The Trial root directory can readily occupy substantial amounts of disk space: on my production Mac, it appears to contain 1.47 GB in 148,618 items, which is a hefty chunk in backups.

[…]

Trial appears primarily concerned with gathering data from Experiments distributed via CloudKit. These notably include ML features such as Visual Look Up.

[…]

Trial’s root directory at ~/Library/Trial should be added routinely to all backup exclusion lists. Apple should add it to Time Machine’s system exclusions at the earliest opportunity.

Howard Oakley:

Last week we celebrated the fifth anniversary of APFS, the file system which Apple secretly rolled out to millions of iPhones and iPads on 27 March 2017. It was also the week when we discovered that services introduced over a year ago in macOS Big Sur appear to conduct ‘trials’ and ‘experiments’ on our Macs. While Apple came clean about APFS [how previous software updates did test filesystem migrations] just over two months later, it shows no sign of explaining what’s been happening on our Macs.

[…]

The principle here is treating adults as adults, with respect. When you’re going to change something which you suspect could affect them, you communicate, inform, and obtain their consent.

[…]

As we don’t know what triald does collect, and what it might share by way of results, it’s impossible for us to know how Apple considers its activities relate to its long and detailed statements on privacy. Although I’m sure those who already accuse Apple of not adhering to its high ideals will be as sceptical as ever, I’m confident that triald does comply with its stated policies in all but one respect: nowhere in those pages do I see any reference to trials or experiments, except in the very different context of health studies.

Update (2022-04-12): Howard Oakley:

As we start to explore Apple’s latest undocumented service, Trial, gaining easy access to its log entries becomes important. I’ve therefore added another readymade log browsing option to my free utility Mints.

[…]

Trial appears to be involved in all parts of macOS which benefit from ML, including Siri, natural language processing, Photos library and other image analysis, Spotlight search ranking, and Safari search ranking and other features. This is a non-trivial system.

Howard Oakley:

Currently, the major supplier of apps using Core ML is Apple. Trial, and possibly a sibling going under the name of Biome which also has its own root directory in ~/Library, appears to be Apple’s system for deploying new and updated models for use in Siri, Photos image analysis and recognition, Visual Look Up, Live Text, and other features in Big Sur and Monterey.

[…]

It still remains strange that Apple should use terms like trial and experiment, if these are just model updates. Despite what some may think, ML doesn’t normally proceed by running large-scale trials or experiments across user systems.

Mac External Displays for Designers and Developers

Marc Edwards (tweet):

Since writing about Mac external displays in 2016, not much has changed. LG, Dell, Samsung, and other display makers have either never catered for the specs many Mac designers and developers want, or they’ve reluctantly produced products that have been short-lived or compromised.

[…]

Thankfully, Apple’s new Studio Display now provides a great option.

Spec wise, it’s incredibly similar to LG’s 5K UltraFine, and the display of the now discontinued 27-inch iMac, even though it’s not using the same panel. […] The Studio Display hits an incredibly important target, and it can now be the default choice for discerning Mac designers and developers.

[…]

Not everyone’s going to see these issues or be annoyed by them, but they are very real. There’s also very legitimate reasons for using display scaling, or purchasing displays that can’t run macOS with 1:1 pixel mapping. It’s just good to be aware of the compromises. If you’re after a cheaper option, buying a non-Retina display could be a good choice. For that, you’d want a display that’s around 109PPI. It will look more pixelated though.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Previously: