Archive for December 19, 2022

Monday, December 19, 2022



Some of you may have heard that a new Mastodon client, Ivory,  is in development for iOS (and Mac!). This is true! Tapbots is going all in on Mastodon and we hope this place continues to grow and thrive. Tweetbot will continue to be developed alongside Ivory as a lot of code is shared. A new Mac version of Tweetbot and Ivory are also currently in development and we are working hard on getting those towards a public beta state.

Mark Jardine:

We invested so much into Tweetbot over the past 11 years and to think everything was potentially going to end was the scariest thought. But as the days went on, I started to think more rationally and knew it would be okay. As much as Twitter has brought us success, it has also been extremely frustrating for the past 6-7 years trying to build something great with a nerfed API.


Building an app for an open and decentralized social platform felt so refreshing. Inspirational! I haven’t been so excited designing something in a long time. With Tweetbot, we were always fighting with the API limitations while knowing in the back of our minds that someday the API could be taken away. I didn’t realize it then, but that killed a lot of our excitement and enthusiasm. With @ivory, we are just ecstatic every single day. It’s just been a pure joy to make software again.

Currently, I’m following Mastodon accounts using NetNewsWire, since the Web interface doesn’t remember where you are in the timeline.

I like what Tapbots did with Netbot for back in the day, though I never found it satisfying to use two different services at once. It’s annoying to have separate timelines in two different apps, with some posts duplicated.

Twitter has been changing its policies so rapidly, and with scant or subsequently deleted explanations, so it doesn’t seem worth following the drama over there too closely.


Update (2023-01-12): Dan Moren:

Tapbots has gone ahead and posted a road map for the app, laying out what exactly is in the works for the near future. Currently on the list, which Tapbots plans to update as it goes, are the ability to create content warnings on posts, enhanced profile features, and a filterable navigation bar, among others.

Epic Settles With FTC Over COPPA Complaint

FTC (complaint PDF, Hacker News):

The Federal Trade Commission has secured agreements requiring Epic Games, Inc., creator of the popular video game Fortnite, to pay a total of $520 million in relief over allegations the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and deployed design tricks, known as dark patterns, to dupe millions of players into making unintentional purchases.

Half of this will go to customers and half to the FTC.

Michael Love:

Ironically, the fact that they were able to get away with doing this even when Fortnite was still in the App Store kind of proves Tim Sweeney’s point.

(I’m sure this will be disingenuously weaponized the other way - “Epic wants to avoid App Review so they can be evil’er” - but you can’t throw a brick in the top app charts without hitting a dozen other companies that use dark patterns to dupe people into unintentional purchases)

Even Gaia GPS now has a dark pattern where it takes over the whole screen, and there’s seemingly no way to get back into the app without purchasing an IAP. (I force-quit and relaunch it.)


Statutes written decades ago don’t specify how gaming ecosystems should operate. The laws have not changed, but their application has evolved and long-standing industry practices are no longer enough. We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players.


Developers who create a teen-rated or mature-rated game can no longer assume that it won’t be deemed to be directed to children, according to the United States’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Younger players who are interested in higher-rated games can find ways to access them.


There have never been pay-to-win or pay-to-progress mechanics in player-versus-player experiences in Fortnite. And we eliminated paid random-item loot boxes in Fortnite: Save the World in 2019.


Update (2023-03-16): FTC (via Hacker News):

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized an order requiring Epic Games, the maker of the Fortnite video game, to pay $245 million to consumers to settle charges that the company used dark patterns to trick players into making unwanted purchases and let children rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement.

John Carmack Is Leaving Meta

John Carmack (Hacker News):

Quest 2 is almost exactly what I wanted to see from the beginning – mobile hardware, inside out tracking, optional PC streaming, 4k (ish) screen, cost effective.


We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort. There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy.


It has been a struggle for me. I have a voice at the highest levels here, so it feels like I should be able to move things, but I’m evidently not persuasive enough. A good fraction of the things I complain about eventually turn my way after a year or two passes and evidence piles up, but I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage, or set a direction and have a team actually stick to it.

Via Dan Luu:

I find this letter from Carmack interesting in that it summarizes a sentiment I’ve heard from literally all of the highest impact/most effective people I’ve talked to at large companies.

John Carmack:

I am all in on building AGI at Keen Technologies now.

Ashley Stewart and Kali Hays:

During Meta’s developer conference in October, Carmack hosted a solo hour-long talk about the company’s Oculus or Quest headset. He admitted he had many things to be "grumpy" about, like the company’s rate of progress on technological advancements and the basic functionality of the headsets. He said it was frustrating to hear from people inside Meta who found the Quest 2 headsets so unreliable that they refused to use them for work or demo them for people outside the company.

See also: his 2020 keynote (Hacker News).

Update (2023-02-21): John Carmack (via Hacker News):

Startups are so great like that — see a problem and just FIX IT THAT WEEK. The time to deliver a fix to VR users at Meta was often over six months, disregarding all the problems that were just ignored.

Disabling AWDL to Work Around Ventura Wi-Fi Issues

Hamza Malik (via Felix Krause, Hacker News):

Meter is currently tracking an issue that is affecting devices on macOS Monterey and macOS Ventura with M1/M2 Macbooks acutely affected — leading to slow internet connection, drops in Zoom calls, and entirely losing a WiFi connection.

Macbooks use a WiFi interface called AWDL (Apple Wireless Direct Link) for features like AirDrop and AirPlay. Having AWDL on may cause your WiFi connection to periodically reset. Although these issues can manifest in various ways, the underlying issue is the same: throughput and speeds drop, devices get disconnected randomly, and fail to rejoin the network.


As an interim solution to improve the WiFi connection, Apple recommends that you turn off AWDL interface (this will disable AirDrop/AirPlay). There are a few ways you can do this — either by using the Terminal application and running a script or through the UI (provided below). We’ve run this intervention with a few customers now that have seen improved WiFi performance as a result.

I have not been seeing the problem on my Macs.

The post says that this may be fixed in macOS 13.1, however the issue is not mentioned in the release notes, and I’ve not seen any comments confirming the fix.


Update (2023-05-01): See also: Reddit.