Archive for May 27, 2022

Friday, May 27, 2022

AirPods Amber Alerts Lawsuit

Juli Clover:

Apple’s AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued, according to a lawsuit filed against Apple in California (via Law360).


The AirPods Pro were allegedly set at a low volume, but an Amber Alert sounded without warning and the high-pitched noise damaged B.G.’s eardrums.


There have been other social media complaints about the noise of Amber Alerts when wearing AirPods. Amber Alerts are designed to catch the attention of iPhone owners, causing devices to play a loud sound and vibrate. Reports on the internet suggest that the Amber Alert sound is indeed very loud when played through AirPods, even when those AirPods are set at a reasonable volume.

I wish I could leave them enabled but set to only vibrate and show a notification on the screen.


Apple Developer App 10.0

Apple (MacRumors):

Welcome to the latest version of the Apple Developer app — your resource to help you create great apps for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, and the best way to experience WWDC.


The Developer app now supports SharePlay so that you can watch videos together with your friends and colleagues.


Need more information about an API like AsyncImage or slicing attributed strings? The Developer app supports full transcript and code snippet search of all our content, both in the app and via Spotlight on Mac, iOS, and iPadOS.

Code is now selectable and copyable, but I still think it’s not a great Mac app. Text in the Overview tab—even the name of the session—still isn’t selectable. The group rows in the sidebar are. Focus and keyboard navigation still don’t work right. Pressing Tab in the search field enters an actual Tab character. The video dimensions are smaller than what you get on the Web site, no matter how large you resize the window, which makes the slides harder to read. I thought about using the app as a catalog for opening videos in Safari, but there’s no command to do that—but there is a command to Open in News, which doesn’t work. You still can’t bulk-download videos or easily access the files from outside of the app.


Update (2022-06-08): Nick Heer:

Also, the new version of the Developer app isn’t supported on Catalina, which I can’t upgrade on my MacBook Air, and you apparently need the newest version to open videos this year? And there’s no way to know any of this unless you try using it.

Kuba Suder:

I love such “native” Mac apps where I can’t multi-select rows in a table to remove more than one bookmark at a time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Update (2022-09-14): Serenity Caldwell:

As of yesterday’s update, you can now resize videos on macOS by dragging the bottom edge.

DuckDuckGo Browser Allows Microsoft Trackers


The new @DuckDuckGo browsers for iOS/Android don’t block Microsoft data flows, for LinkedIn or Bing.

Shivan Kaul Sahib (via Hacker News):

DuckDuckGo has a search deal with Microsoft which prevents them from blocking MS trackers. And they can’t talk about it!

This is why privacy products that are beholden to giant corporations can never deliver true privacy; the business model just doesn’t work.

Gabriel Weinberg (tweet, Reddit):

This is not about search. To be clear, when you load our search results, you are completely anonymous, including ads. For ads, we actually worked with Microsoft to make ad clicks privacy protected as well. From our public ads page, “Microsoft Advertising does not associate your ad-click behavior with a user profile.” This page is linked to next to every Microsoft ad that is served on our search engine (

In all our browsing apps (iOS/Android/Mac) we also block third-party cookies, including those from Microsoft-owned properties like LinkedIn and Bing. That is, the privacy thing most people talk about on the web (blocking 3rd party cookies) applies here to MSFT. We also have a lot of other web protections that also apply to MSFT-owned properties as well, e.g., GPC, first-party cookie expiration, fingerprinting protection, referrer header trimming, cookie consent handling, fire button data clearing, etc.

This is just about non-DuckDuckGo and non-Microsoft sites in our browsers, where our search syndication agreement currently prevents us from stopping Microsoft-owned scripts from loading, though we can still apply our browser’s protections post-load (like 3rd party cookie blocking and others mentioned above, and do). We’ve also been tirelessly working behind the scenes to change this limited restriction. I also understand this is confusing because it is a search syndication contract that is preventing us from doing a non-search thing.

John Gruber:

Not a good look for a company that just launched a high-profile campaign, touting “the simple fact is tracking is tracking, no matter what you call it”.

To be clear, this is about DuckDuckGo’s web browser, not their search results. But still — it’s just so contrary to the core of DuckDuckGo’s brand.

Brendan Eich:

I helped restart the browser market with Firefox, which took off in 2004 and won a lucrative Google search deal that year (Sergey Brin’s emissary made contact with me in 1H2004), so I grok the economics driving DDG to allow 3rd party tracking as a Bing ads deal quid pro quo.

For the record, @Brave has passed up or failed to close such deals because we would not whitelist the tracking scripts across the Web that the search partner said they require to be unblocked. We chose not to violate our own principles and our users’ trust, at high cost to us.


Update (2022-05-31): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2022-06-16): Brendan Eich:

When DuckDuckGo got caught making exceptions for Microsoft and Bing trackers, one defense they offered was that it wasn’t a big deal, because DDG browsers block third-party (3p) cookies. We beg to differ.

The thing is, DDG browsers also include exceptions for how MS trackers circumvent 3p cookie blocking. Trackers try to get around cookie blocking by appending identifiers to URL query parameters, to id you across sites.

Turning a Basic Task Into a Complicated Nightmare

John Gruber:

Last weekend The Verge ran a piece by Sean Hollister under the headline “Apple Shipped Me a 79-Pound iPhone Repair Kit to Fix a 1.1-Ounce Battery”.


One possible explanation for the complexity and heft of Apple’s self repair toolkit is that iPhones are intricate devices, which require numerous special tools and machines to open and operate upon, along with expert instructions. And that even with the expensive tools and machines, and detailed instructions, they require careful attention to do it right. As with most such tasks, experience helps greatly. Thus Apple has, heretofore, concentrated its repair policies on having iPhones (and other devices) serviced by Apple itself or by certified, trained, trusted partners. And that for the Self Service Repair Program to work, self-repairers will need the same professional tools and machines and detailed instructions. This is necessarily expensive and complicated, and even with that said, there’s nothing Apple can do to bestow experience upon self-repairers. There is nothing Apple can do to make such repairs quick or easy.


If you really think an iPhone battery or cracked screen should be serviceable with nothing more than “a small box of screwdrivers, spudgers, and pliers”, what you’re really asking for is for iPhones (and all other modern computing devices) to be designed, engineered, and assembled in altogether different ways. That sounds great, of course, but that’s not how modern mobile devices work. Apple isn’t an outlier in this regard — there are no popular modern mobile devices that are easily serviceable with simple tools. If it were possible for iPhones to be more easily repairable, without sacrificing their appearance, dimensions, performance, water-and-dust resistance, and cost, Apple would make them more easily repairable. That iPhones are not easily repairable is of no benefit to Apple whatsoever.


The iPhone being the first of the stereotypical modern smartphone having a non-user-replaceable battery does not mean a modern smartphone has to not have a non-user-replaceable battery. It means that when a company with Apple’s design philosophy does one, they will pay more attention to pretty much everything else than to practical maintainability concerns for the user.


The roundabout nature of the repair speaks to the degree to which practicality was not a priority during the design process, with wasteful shipping of enormous machines being one of many side effects.


From a user’s point of view, it is true that having a user-replaceable battery does add to the size and weight of the device, especially the easier the mechanism is to undo. It also adds to the lifetime and the resale value, because now you could do it with your hands in under a minute, or with a screwdriver and maybe some minor tools in under 15 minutes, so now you might actually do it, since you don’t have to give your primary technical support device up for hours or days in a store that may not even be in the same city, without risking your warranty.


Just because servicing is not a “profit center” for a company, doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t benefit from designing its devices to not be user-serviceable.

This is kind of like the battery throttling scandal. In that case, Apple designed the phones in such a way that throttling kicked in rather soon, and without telling the user, and the result was that many were prompted to buy new phones because they didn’t know that all they needed to do was replace the battery. The software could have told them that, but Apple wasn’t looking out for the customer in that way. Here, the result of designing phones that are hard to service is that some number of customers buy new phones to avoid hassle. I don’t think that’s why Apple designed them that way, but neither do I believe that it gave the alternative much consideration.