Archive for May 19, 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Indirect Struct Properties in Swift

Sean Heber:

Surprised that Swift has “indirect” for enum cases but not for structs. Seems like a weird omission.

Here’s a property wrapper that lets you use “indirect” properties in a struct for those times when you really want to because “reasons.”

It uses an enum wrapper, which is more efficient than an object.

Apple Accessibility Feature Preview

Shelly Brisbin:

For the second year running, Apple has offered a preview of updated accessibility features coming to its platforms later this year. The announcements come just ahead of Thursday’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which goes by #GAAD online.

Apple:

Apple is introducing Door Detection, a cutting-edge navigation feature for users who are blind or low vision. Door Detection can help users locate a door upon arriving at a new destination, understand how far they are from it, and describe door attributes — including if it is open or closed, and when it’s closed, whether it can be opened by pushing, turning a knob, or pulling a handle. Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door, like the room number at an office, or the presence of an accessible entrance symbol. This new feature combines the power of LiDAR, camera, and on-device machine learning, and will be available on iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanner.

[…]

With Apple Watch Mirroring, users can control Apple Watch using iPhone’s assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control, and use inputs including voice commands, sound actions, head tracking, or external Made for iPhone switches as alternatives to tapping the Apple Watch display. Apple Watch Mirroring uses hardware and software integration, including advances built on AirPlay, to help ensure users who rely on these mobility features can benefit from unique Apple Watch apps like Blood Oxygen, Heart Rate, Mindfulness, and more.

[…]

Live Captions in FaceTime attribute auto-transcribed dialogue to call participants, so group video calls become even more convenient for users with hearing disabilities. When Live Captions are used for calls on Mac, users have the option to type a response and have it spoken aloud in real time to others who are part of the conversation.

Update (2022-05-20): John Siracusa:

This use of accessibility features to rearrange icons on an iPhone is arguably easier than the “normal” way.

Apple Introduces Professional IT Training

Apple:

As companies expand their use of technology, employees are demanding to use iPhone, iPad, and Mac at work, resulting in an increased need for IT professionals skilled in supporting and managing Apple products.

To help meet this growing demand, Apple today launched updated professional training and certifications for IT support and management. The training has been completely redesigned and moved to an online, self-paced format. Users can demonstrate their competency with two new exams and earn certification from Apple.

[…]

Two new Apple Professional Training courses — Apple Device Support, and Apple Deployment and Management — are available today on training.apple.com. The courses are sequential, and build on skills and concepts as the user progresses. At the completion of each course, new certification exams are available to demonstrate competence achieved at each level with corresponding digital badges from Apple. Each exam costs $149, and certification can be displayed on resumes, online profiles, and job boards, enabling users to stand out in job searches — and employers to find qualified candidates.

Tom Bridge (tweet):

In addition to the new exams, Apple’s announced a program working with the Mac Admins Foundation to make sure that those who can’t afford to take this exam, or whose employers won’t pay, can still get certified. The Mac Admins Foundation is a brand new 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to support the people who manage Apple products, starting with the Mac Admins Slack, and moving onward to making conferences more approachable for people just starting out in this industry.

Should You Continue Using HFS+?

Howard Oakley:

The most compelling argument for retaining HFS+ is on rotating hard disks, because APFS can result in severe fragmentation, most importantly in the file system metadata, so causing degraded performance; as SSDs don’t suffer those performance penalties, this could be a good reason for continuing to use HFS+ on hard disks, while switching SSDs to APFS.

That argument may hold good for storage which is in active use, such as boot disks and those containing working files, but appears less compelling in more static use, to contain relatively stable archives or backups in which there is limited turnover of files or data. Although objectively assessing the effects of fragmentation is fraught with difficulty, one basic question is whether there is any difference in performance between the file systems to begin with.

I updated my spinning hard drives to APFS when that became necessary in order to make bootable clones. The other main benefit is that APFS snaphots on the destination are a great way to fit multiple backups onto the same drive. Previously, I used multiple partitions, which is much less space-efficient.

The hidden downside is that, for reasons I don’t understand, most of my APFS backup drives take an unpredictable amount of time to mount. With HFS+ it consistently took a few seconds. With APFS, sometimes it takes a few seconds, but other times it takes 5 minutes or even an hour before I can access the drive’s contents. A few of my APFS backups do have multiple partitions. They mount in a random order. If I’m lucky, the one I need mounts first, and in that case the backup is almost always done before the other partitions have even mounted.

Sometimes, the APFS volume never auto-mounts, but it does show up in Disk Utility where—after it takes 10 minutes to launch—I can manually tell it to mount.

Other times, the APFS volume does auto-mount, using the password stored in the keychain, but it shows a password prompt, anyway. Sometimes, despite trying to dismiss this dialog, it stays on-screen the entire time I’m using the drive. I try to drag it mostly off-screen so that it doesn’t block my other windows.

Sometimes, generally after a kernel panic, APFS volumes don’t even show up in Disk Utility after a restart. I have to power cycle the enclosures. (Ironically, most of the kernel panics that I’ve been getting with my M1 Pro MacBook Pro seem to be related to HFS.)

Previously: