Archive for May 4, 2022

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Studio Display 15.5 Firmware Beta 2

Juli Clover:

Apple today released a second beta version of new 15.5 firmware that’s coming to the Studio Display, with the software coming one week after the launch of the first beta. The Studio Display firmware is designed to improve the function of the webcam on the device.

James Thomson:

Comparing the new beta Studio Display firmware (1st pic) with the beta from last week (2nd pic), picture quality does seem to be still improving - I’m less red and there’s more contrast.

Jason Snell:

We can debate the wisdom of putting Center Stage on a display most likely destined for the desks of nerds, but let’s leave that aside. How about the audacity of Apple shipping it without any interface to speak of? And how much better might the camera on the Studio Display have been received if it could be tweaked by its users to produce more pleasing images?


My podcasting partner Myke Hurley, who lives in the U.K., has been frustrated for the past year that the M1 iMac and Studio Display don’t properly deal with the flicker rate of fluorescent lights in Europe. A recent update seems to have solved the issue on the iMac, but no such luck for the Studio Display. You know what might solve the issue? A flicker-frequency setting like the one found in the Webcam Settings app! But since Apple refuses to provide that sort of control, Myke’s forced to quit and re-launch apps in the hopes that the problem will eventually correct itself.


Studio Display users are reporting that occasionally, the Studio Display’s audio–speakers or microphones or both–get a little choppy. That’s a common problem with audio hardware on the Mac (and as a podcaster I’d like to suggest that Apple should probably spend some time making the Mac’s audio subsystem more reliable) but it’s fixed by the classic tech problem solver: turn it off and back on.

Except… the Studio Display does not have a button.

I had to unplug mine recently, too.


Periodic Table of NSVisualEffectView

Matthias Gansrigler:

While working on that feedback panel that comes up when resizing a shot, or changing its transparency (see above), I needed an overview of the different appearances an NSVisualEffectView can have.

During testing, I discovered that NSVisualEffectView accepts material values from 0-37, of which only a few are documented.

With that in mind, this sample app shows 152 NSVisualEffectViews. 76 light, 76 dark, each consisting of 38 vibrant and 38 non-vibrant variants. Some of them look like they produce duplicate results, but all I needed was a brute-force way of showing all variants at once for comparison, so I didn’t bother filtering out anything.

You can download the source code here, if you’d like to play around with it yourself.

See also: Todd Ditchendorf.

Is Grammarly a Keylogger?

Jason Meller (via Hacker News):

The problem, it seems, is that Grammarly is only willing to perform this magic trick on their cloud. That means, the text you enter into an app when the Grammarly widget is visible is sent to them.


Grammarly does not record every keystroke you make on your device. Grammarly accesses only the text you write when you are actively using a Grammarly product offering[…]

Jason Meller:

In my reading, Grammarly heavily implies that users have a fair degree of control over what Grammarly can access. But in practice, this is very misleading. Let me show you why.


Grammarly parsed and marked up my document without me typing a single keystroke. All I needed to do was bring the window into the foreground. This makes sense; Grammarly would not be easy to use if it could only provide grammar advice on the documents and words you typed when it was running. I’m not even sure how much Grammarly even cares about the keystrokes you’re typing; if it can read what was written previously, it does not need to.


As a rule, Grammarly employees do not monitor or view your User Content stored in or transferred through our Site, Software, and/or Services, but it may be viewed if we believe the Terms of Service have been violated and confirmation is required, if we need to do so to respond to your requests for support, if we otherwise determine that we have an obligation to review it as described in the Terms of Service, or to improve our algorithms[…]

This is completely unsurprising for a server-based product. But I doubt that most customers realize that the contents of nearly every text field on their Mac is being uploaded and stored in the cloud.


Update (2022-05-09): Thomas Reed:

If we were to call Grammarly a keylogger, we’d also have to call Siri a wire tapper, since it captures audio and (on older devices/systems) sends it to Apple’s servers for processing. Some people may not be comfortable using Siri, but it’s definitely not a PUP.