Archive for September 21, 2022

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

ForecastAdvisor

ForecastAdvisor (via John Gruber):

ForecastAdvisor will show you the accuracy of the major weather forecasters, including Accuweather, AerisWeather, Foreca, the National Weather Service, Open Weathermap, The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, Wetter, World Weather Online, and Weather News. We also provide links to your city's weather forecast from all the other weather forecasters, so you can compare for yourself.

What a great idea. Its results match my anecdotal experience, which is that The Weather Channel/Company (TWC) has the most accurate forecasts in my area. I get this data via Snowflake. It shows that Foreca, which I get through Weathergraph, is also pretty good. It doesn’t yet show results for Apple Weather (WeatherKit), which so far seems to be slightly worse than Foreca.

Previously:

Weather Strip 1.7.1

Math Easel:

New lock screen accessory widgets for iOS 16! (Make sure you are subscribed to the Premium level.)

This may be the best weather Lock Screen widget I’ve seen, though for the big graph in the app itself I prefer Weathergraph’s.

Previously:

Mercury Weather 1.1.4

Triple Glazed Studios (via Craig Grannell):

  • Beautiful weather charts
  • Detailed daily forecast
  • Incredibly accurate rain forecast
  • Simple yet powerful Apple Watch app
  • Easy to glace home screen and lock screen widgets

I like the design, which is reminiscent of Weather Line, though it is not the official successor, as Weather Line was apparently acquired by Fox. The features are bit too limited for my taste, and the weather data comes from OpenWeather, which is not great. I’m happy with Weathergraph (for main graph and watch complication) and Snowflake (for more detailed weather info and a more accurate forecast) but will be keeping an eye on this one.

John Gruber:

Free to try, with a Premium subscription to unlock widgets, the WatchOS app, historical data, and more. $2/month or $10/year — cheap!

Previously:

FogBugz Auto-Upgrades Free and Dormant Plans to Paid

Joseph Ruscio (Hacker News):

@FogBugzTeam sending me an email today that you are auto-upgrading and intend to start charging me tomorrow for a free account I haven’t logged into for (checks notes) … 13 YEARS is a bold move.

Aleksandar Vacić:

If your account is inactive for a long time then FogBugz/IgnoreTech will remove it. Their support page says they do that.

But does not delete the account actually. They keep it anyway.

So yesterday (!) they sent me an email that they are automatically upgrading my account to some paid tier and starting today (!) they will begin charging subscription.

For a service account which does not even exists anymore.

I used the free plan for 8 years or so and can’t really complain about it becoming paid. Were I still using FogBugz, it would be worth the cost. But this was not handled well. First, they shouldn’t start auto-billing accounts that were dormant. Second, the communication was terrible. I received an e-mail on September 16th saying that they would start billing in one month. Then I received a second e-mail, which I almost skipped over because it seemed to be saying the same thing, except that this one said they would start billing on September 17th, i.e. 6 hours from the time the e-mail was sent. That e-mail contained a link to a FAQ, which redirected to Zendesk—it was kind of a red flag when they stopped using their own product for support—and the URL returns a 404 because the Zendesk account is closed. Fortunately, unlike some others, I was able to log into my account and close it.

alexjplant:

I’m more concerned about them affecting my credit score... these clowns haven’t a legal or moral leg to stand on but there’s no way to cancel the free account that I haven’t touched for 7 years. The hyperlink to my instance 500s and their support portal is either broken or disallowing new user registrations (despite me trying three browsers, two devices, and spending 10 minutes in the dev console manually enabling various buttons for password setting on the new account page and trying their ZenDesk URL instead of the custom one). Any emails to their customer success address tell users to log into this nonfunctional support portal.

Anil Dash:

I don’t recommend anyone do business with them, whether as a customer or anything else; I was CEO of Fog Creek when we decided to sell FogBugz, and if I knew the difference between what we were told ahead of the deal and what happened after, I never would have approved it. I didn’t see that they’d done this latest shitty thing until now but I really lament that they’ve sunk to an even lower new level.

Previously:

Update (2022-09-22): Marco Arment:

My free account had been dormant for years — long enough that they had deleted it — yet they just charged an expired card, then sent me an email saying I was in arrears.

Nothing online worked. Had to call them to “fix” it.

I just received an e-mail from FogBugz:

We’ve become well aware of the maelstrom of concern and comments caused by a series of emails that some of you received, but to explain, we were just as surprised as you when multiple emails were sent. Our original and only intended email, which was controlled by humans, was to inform you that the “free,” non-expiring version of FogBugz is being phased out on October 17, 2022. Additionally, we wanted to offer you the option to continue using FogBugz by updating your account to a paid subscription. This was the entire, planned effort.

However, once we updated the accounts that had been identified as free and non-expiring in the internal FogBugz accounting system, the software automatically generated a form email, notifying you that we had summarily converted you to a paid account, and worse, actually triggering collection/dunning notices to some. This was unintended and is not accurate. Yes, we’ve owned the software for some time and should know all of the nooks and crannies by now. We don’t know if this was a nook or a cranny, but it decided to act on its own. Truth. It’s embarrassing, and we’d react the same way as many of you have. So this email is to set the record straight.

We do not automatically charge any customer for usage of the software unless a subscription has been expressly elected, despite what the erroneous auto-email stated.

However, they go on to say that they do charge you if your credit card was on file, e.g. if a paid plan had previously been selected and then you downgraded to free. Perhaps that’s what happened to Arment. Or perhaps he was always on the free plan but, like me, at some point had been required to enter his card info, anyway.

How to Reinstall Safari for Mac

On one of my Macs running macOS 12.6, the Safari 16 update said that it had succeeded but actually left me with a zero-byte executable that wouldn’t launch. This had never happened to me before in all my years of using Macs.

You might think this should be impossible because macOS now uses a Signed System Volume (SSV) that’s supposed to make sure that the system files are correct. However, Safari is updated separately from the rest of macOS, and so it is actually stored on the Data volume rather than on the SSV.

I had other Web browsers installed, so my first thought was to simply download the Safari 16 installer and run it again. However, Apple no longer offers downloads of the Safari installer. Apple’s supported solution, I assume, is to use macOS Recovery to reinstall all of macOS (and then update to Safari 16) or perhaps to restore from a Time Machine backup. But those remedies are quite disruptive.

Of course, the Safari 16 installer must be available from Apple’s servers since macOS’s software update can download it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the link via Web searches, instead finding lots of SEO pages that didn’t actually offer the solution.

Mr. Macintosh rescued me, providing a mysterious link to the Safari 16 installer package. But how can you find such links yourself? First, open this file:

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Seeding.framework/Versions/A/Resources/SeedCatalogs.plist

Inside are URLs for the current macOS software update catalogs. (Old catalog URLs are listed here.) Right now, the current non-beta one is:

https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-12customerseed-12-10.16-10.15-10.14-10.13-10.12-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog.gz

I like to paste paths and URLs like this into BBEdit’s Open File by Name window. It will both download the URL and decompress the file for viewing.

Once you’re viewing the catalog of installer packages, you can search around to find the one that you need.

Alternatively, you can use the SUS Inspector app to download and view macOS software update catalogs. And Mr. Macintosh now has a page that lists all the Safari installer packages (to go along with his lists of IPWS files and installers for Ventura, Monterey, and Big Sur).

Matthias Gansrigler:

Had the same issue where it would crash at launch, and then no longer launch at all. Re-installed macOS from Recovery, and now I’m scared to install the Safari 16 update 🤷‍♂️

Previously:

Update (2022-09-23): Oliver Busch:

Even simpler: Pacifist.